Tuesday 7 August 2007

Cross-party plea on energy policy

ENERGY Minister Eamon Ryan has challenged Fine Gael and Labour to agree to targets on the country's energy policy for the next 30 years.

The minister wants all-party agreements on energy sources, climate change and emissions reduction to ensure there is no change of direction with successive governments.

Such a deal would include every party agreeing on whether to go with nuclear energy or not.

Mr Ryan said an energy agreement would be as significant as the backing for Sean Lemass opening up the economy in the 1960s and Alan Dukes's Tallaght Strategy support in opposition for tough decisions on the public finances in the 1980s.

The previous attempt last year to get cross-party agreement on energy targets collapsed. Fine Gael and Labour had been sceptical of the plan, even though the Green Party was keen to go along with Fianna Fail and the Progressive Democrats.

After being closely involved in the first attempt, coordinated by Fianna Fail TD Noel O'Flynn as chairman of the Oireachtas Energy Committee, Mr Ryan wants to try again in his new role.

Labour appears willing to see what's on the table but Fine Gael are still opposing it. Mr Ryan said an agreement just "makes sense and that it would send out a consistent statement.

Fionnan Sheahan
Irish Independent

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