Our submission for Budget 2020: €1.1bn for Green Transition

Launching the 2020 pre-budget submission I and my Green Party colleagues have called on the government to set out a plan to decarbonise the Irish economy and build a secure and inclusive future for the next generation.

Key elements of the submission include:

  • A €1.1bn package to address the climate and biodiversity crisis, including €475m for sustainable transport, €100m for afforestation and €75m for organic farming.

  • Invest €300m in education and a further €275m for parents through a raise in the Increase for a Qualified Child (IQC).

  • Create a €300m fund for the provision of cost rental housing and invest €200m for a major retrofit programme.

Following almost a decade of inaction on climate change by this government we now have ten years until 2030 to remake our economic strategy to that of a circular economy, one that places quality of life and the welfare of the most vulnerable in society at its forefront.  We propose a €1.1 billion investment in a low carbon economy as a first step in a longer-term package to affect change. It is our children’s generation that will experience the cost of our current inaction and political inertia, particularly in housing and transport. We call for a €475m fund for sustainable transport and a major investment in housing – €300m on new cost rental provision and €150m euro on retrofit of existing housing in 2020.

Now is the time to put in place long term goals for emissions reduction, poverty alleviation and the creation of a skill base to enact the considerable changes required.

Investing in our young people is essential for a hopeful future. We would overhaul services and supports in the realms of education and social protection so that children, students and parents are able to look forward not only to a greener future – but a fairer, more equitable and more caring future.

We propose a package of measures to enhance our education system to a total of €300m – this includes an increase in the capitation grant and further investment to reduce class sizes for our primary and second-level schools, to support our schools which are currently strained to the seams. We would also make a substantial investment in third level education.”

The Irish government has missed the agreed 2020 emissions targets by a considerable margin, leaving us vulnerable to EU fines of up to €600 million annually from 2020. All over the island of Ireland, our natural world is in crisis and native species are in severe decline. The government must harness one of our best national assets, farmers and those who work on the land, to resist the worst impacts of the climate and biodiversity breakdown. We propose a €185m investment in Forestry and Agriculture that would support farmers to provide 18,000 additional hectares of high quality, native woodland in 2020 and increase funding to Organic Farming programes.

You can read the full document here.