Today is polling day and we are being asked to vote for our local election candidates, our European Parliament candidates and whether to take time limits out of the constitution for divorce (aswell as recognising foreign divorces). I have been vocal in my support for the outstanding Deputy Clare Daly for Europe and have been encouraging voters to turn up and vote for left candidates. Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have been the architects of the health and housing crises and nothing will change unless we vote for candidates to replace these parties.
Our colleagues moved the motion to declare a climate emergency a couple of weeks ago based on the report of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Climate Action which, the Minister will agree, was a fine effort and one of the achievements of this 32nd Dáil. The question now is what the Government is going to do to implement it. Fine Gael has had eight years of budgets, following five or six years of budgets from Fianna Fáil and the Green Party, and absolutely nothing was done. How is the Government going to decarbonise transport, agriculture, energy and housing? What steps will the Government take to implement the 42 priority recommendations? For example, will the Minister be proposing legislation to the House to take any emergency measures?
On Monday I held my two information clinics in Darndale and Donnycarney. For a large part of Tuesday afternoon, I attended the Seanad Reform Implementation Group meeting and debated possible amendments to the Report and the Bill. I have since submitted my own annex and minority report to the group. I asked for the 60 members of Seanad Éireann to be elected by all the people on the same franchise and similar constituencies to Dáil Éireann. I also attended the Budgetary Oversight Committee which was discussing the failure to make adequate provision for the Health Budget.
I heard the Minister’s earlier reply on the climate change performance index. Of course, Ireland performed badly. We were 48th out of 56 countries. A third of our emissions are from transport.
The amount the Minister has provided in the national development plan for green transport or environmentally friendly transport is €8.6 million. We were supposed to have an all-of-government plan from the new Minister for the Environment, Planning and Local Government. Could the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport tell us what he is doing about this area, specifically in respect of transport?
I was delighted to see such a large turnout at the #HomesForAll rally in the city centre on Saturday and hope that there will also be a large turnout at the rally at the Spire tomorrow (December 8th) at 2pm calling for the National Maternity Hospital to be publicly owned.
On Tuesday evening, I hosted a meeting in Dáil Éireann with supporters from across the constituency of Dublin Bay North and we discussed matters of national, international and local importance, such as climate change, Brexit, housing and infrastructural issues around the constituency.
The Minister of State knows about the targets we have for 2020 for carbon emissions, which we are dismally failing to reach. We have a new Minister announcing an all of Government action plan, which is presumably concerned with the actions that will be taken by each Department. What impact will that have on spending in 2019 and will there be supplementary budgets? We have had eight supplementary budgets already and I have a parliamentary question down on that but it is not an oral question. Will it mean additional supplementary budgets for each of the Departments so that this all of Government plan is covered?