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Ryan confident Fianna Fail and Fine Gael will agree to ambitious climate targets

The Green Party has entered coalition talks to form a new Irish government.

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Green Party leader Eamon Ryan (Brian Lawless/PA)

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan (Brian Lawless/PA)

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan (Brian Lawless/PA)

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan says he is confident that Fine Gael and Fianna Fail have committed to a 7% reduction in carbon emissions ahead of government formation talks.

Mr Ryan will meet with Leo Varadkar and Micheal Martin later on Tuesday to outline the negotiations process on a programme for government.

The Green Party agreed to enter government formation talks with the two parties over the weekend.

In a statement on Sunday, the Greens said they will work to develop a deal that “respects our mandate”.

Members of the Green Party want firm commitments from Fianna Fail and Fine Gael on a number of ambitious climate change targets.

They've done a lot of work and came back said, yes we are committed to a set of ambitionsEamon Ryan

The Green Party has said a 7% annual reduction in carbon emissions is a red-line issue for them entering into a coalition government.

Mr Ryan told RTE’s Morning Ireland that his party sought clarification from both parties over the weekend.

“They’ve done a lot of work and came back said, yes we are committed to a set of ambitions,” Mr Ryan added.

It comes after Green Party deputy leader Catherine Martin voted against entering coalition after Fine Gael deputy leader Simon Coveney said the 7% yearly reduction in emissions would not be signed up to if it “decimates rural Ireland”.

Mr Ryan said it was “perfectly normal and appropriate” to have different political views within a party.

He said the Irish public is “frustrated” that talks are still ongoing after February’s inconclusive election.

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(PA Graphics)

(PA Graphics)

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(PA Graphics)

“One thing I’d say in that regard is I think in the three months the Dail has actually pulled together behind the political approach in terms of managing the (coronavirus) crisis,” he added.

“There’s been mistakes and people would do things differently, but I think it served the Irish public in the sense that we came together to agree the immediate health crisis management.”

He said the coalition talks process will take a few weeks as all parties involved need to agree to an economic recovery in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

He added: “I think that’s what’s important, that’s what has changed in the last few months, is that we see those parties actually committing and saying, yes we will actually be ambitious and be willing to deliver the measures that would reduce 7% emissions each year, which is what the scientists say we need to do.

“This issue of biodiversity loss and climate change is the real scientific challenge we face and I’m hoping, the same way that we showed solidarity impacting the Covid-19 crisis, we can actually learn from that and gain from that and show the same solidarity both within our party and with other parties and as people mapping our way out of this.”

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