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Thursday 30 November 2023 Dublin: 3°C
Lev Radin Leo Varadkar speaking at the UN last year.
leo in the us

Taoiseach urged to tell banks to stop investing in fossil fuels during his UN speech in New York

Varadkar will attend the UN General Assembly and address the summit on sustainable development goals.

TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR should tell banks to stop investing in fossil fuels during his speech at the special UN Summit on Climate Action in New York next week, said Green Party leader Eamon Ryan.

Varadkar will attend the UN General Assembly and address the summit on sustainable development goals. 

Ryan said the Taoiseach should use the opportunity in New York to call on banks, particularly Irish-owned banks, to stop investing in fossil fuel companies. 

Referencing an article by Bill McKibben in The New Yorker, which states that banks such as Chase, Wells Fargo, Citi, Bank of America and Barclays invest in fossil fuel companies, Ryan said divestment in the industry is needed. 

“You’ve got to move the money. You’ve got to switch the money away from fossil fuels towards the alternative,” he said. 

Ryan said the Irish government should be promoting what it has already done, highlighting the Fossil Fuels Divestment Bill, which passed in the Dáil last year. 

The Bill was the cumulation of two years of work for Donegal TD Thomas Pringle and means the government now has to divest public money from fossil fuel companies.

As a result, the government had to drop coal, oil and gas investments from the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF).

“I’d love to see the rest of the financial industry here, and Leo, standing up and saying, ‘You know what, with the speed and scale of the challenge we need to take the money out of fossil fuels’,” Ryan said.

Ryan also called on the Taoiseach to end his opposition to TD Bríd Smith’s Keep it in the Ground Bill, which aims to end the awarding of new licences for oil and gas exploration.  

The bill has been blocked despite the Dáil voting to pass the proposed legislation to the next stage. 

“We should be stopping all oil and gas exploration,” he said. 

While in New York next week, the Taoiseach will also use the opportunity to promote Ireland’s candidature for a seat on the UN Security Council in 2021-2022.

He will then travel onwards to Los Angeles on a trade mission and will also inaugurate the new Irish embassy in LA. 

His programme will include site visits to a number of client and target companies of Screen Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and the IDA. He will also speak with mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti.

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