Environmental NGOs to join social partnership talks

gormley.jpgENVIRONMENTAL NGOs will be part of social partnership from now on, Minister for the Environment John Gormley has announced.

ENVIRONMENTAL NGOs will be part of social partnership from now on, Minister for the Environment John Gormley has announced.

Mr Gormley told the Dáil “the fact that no such pillar existed during the boom years has been a grave oversight. It worked to the detriment of the economy as a whole.”

He also said he had asked the National Treasury Management Agency to “put its programme for carbon purchasing on hold for the foreseeable future”.

The economic deterioration meant reduced greenhouse gas output and the carbon “purchases to which we are already committed should certainly be adequate to meet whatever need is likely to arise in the Kyoto period, and any surplus can be carried forward for use after 2012”, he said.

During his Budget speech, Mr Gormley hit out at the Labour Party justice spokesman Pat Rabbitte who had earlier strongly attacked the Greens.

Mr Rabbitte said he found it hard to “stomach Deputy Gormley lecturing us on the cuts that should be made”, and “how he is going to clean up Dodge city”.

Mr Gormley “negotiated the formation of the Government with Bertie Ahern, who is the author of all add-ons”. During the talks “did he ask how many committee chairs and Ministers of State he could have?

“Did he object at that time to any of these issues? He did not. He also asked that two Green Party Senators be appointed. Did he effect any changes in the stipend for these positions?”

Mr Gormley said that “I understand that the creation of the junior Minister posts was actually for Deputy Rabbitte” during the 1994-97 rainbow coalition.

He accused Labour of playing “cheap politics” about the proposal for bank loans as a “bailout for bankers and builders”.

The Minister said he had “received the best possible advice from the NTMA”, and internationally it was seen as extremely innovative. “We’re in Government for 20 months and we have overhauled the political system. We’ve reduced the number of junior Ministers. You actually increased them,” he told the Opposition.

But Labour’s Róisín Shortall accused the Minister of having a “brass neck to be coming in here and boasting about his record in Government” considering “the comments of your colleague Minister Ryan last October when he talked about being so proud of that budget that hit the pensioners.

(c) The Irish Times
Last modified on Thursday, 09 April 2009 10:57