9 October 2019
Taoiseach accused of being a “green poser” on climate action
“Taoiseach, you are a green poser and nothing more than that. You are not serious about Climate Action, but you are serious about hammering those families and workers who ought to have been given a break yesterday." – Mary Lou McDonald TD
Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald has accused the Taoiseach of being a “green poser” in his attitude towards climate action, and that his policies will disproportionately hit low-income families instead.
The comments come in wake of the Government’s annual budget that was delivered yesterday. Fine Gael’s Minister for Finance Pascal Donohoe introduced a regressive Carbon Tax measure that would go after ordinary citizens, instead of challenging corporate polluters.
The Sinn Féin leader went on to say it is “classic Fine Gael” to send the bill to “ordinary working people.” McDonald continued by saying that in the absence of sustainable alternatives, carbon taxes will do little to change people’s behaviour to become more environmentally friendly.
“We need proper investment in order to give viable alternatives in terms of transport, fuel, and heating. Presenting this regressive tax as a climate action measure is a hoodwink”, McDonald told the Dáil.
Varadkar attempted to respond by saying Sinn Féin's budget proposals are like "not a wolf, but an ostrich. Because the body is visible but the head is in the sand".
McDonald hit back, saying “Taoiseach, you are a green poser and nothing more than that. You are not serious about Climate Action, but you are serious about hammering those families and workers who ought to have been given a break yesterday.”
Carbon taxes have been increased €6 per tonne and are set to increase annually for the next ten years. The move comes just weeks after the Department of Finance admitted that the carbon tax is “regressive”. Sinn Féin Environment Spokesperson David Cullinane confirmed to An Phoblacht that the ESRI also acknowledged is sees the Carbon Tax as regressive, and as nothing more than a revenue raising exercise.
Sinn Féin TDs have been vocal in highlighting the shortcomings in this year’s budget, saying it is a budget of the status quo, and will do very little to tackle ever rising living costs, the climate emergency and the chaos in the health services and the housing sector.