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Green TD who helped negotiate programme for government says she can't fully endorse it

Neasa Hourigan said reducing carbon emissions will likely be back-loaded, and the deal doesn’t do enough in terms of housing.

GREEN MANIFESTO 982 Green Party TD Neasa Hourigan (file photo). Source: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

A GREEN PARTY TD who helped to negotiate the programme for government with Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael has said she cannot fully endorse it.

Neasa Hourigan, the Green Party’s finance spokesperson, has said the deal does not do enough in terms of housing and deprivation.

Speaking to The Tonight Show on Virgin Media last night, the Dublin Central TD said she would have to re-read the document before deciding if she will support it.

Hourigan also criticised the Taoiseach and Tánaiste for saying the emissions reductions targets set out in the deal would happen in the second half of the decade.

She said it “isn’t helpful” that Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney told their parliamentary party “that the climate emissions that we’re trying to achieve will be mostly happening in the last five years of the decade, and not something that this government has to deal with”.

Hourigan said the 7% greenhouse gas emission reduction target is “an average over 10 years”, stating: “You can back-load it which seems to be the plan. It’s very likely that that 7% will be back-loaded for 2026, 2027, ’28, and that there will be some attempt to force the government of the day to adhere to the decisions that were made in 2020.”

The programme for government, which can be read in full here, states: “We are committed to an average 7% per annum reduction in overall greenhouse gas emissions from 2021 to 2030 (a 51% reduction over the decade) and to achieving net zero emissions by 2050.”

Homelessness and child poverty

Hourigan said she and others “negotiated hard and long, and in good faith”and she believes the deal is probably the best “in the circumstances, we could get”.

However, Hourigan said issues like homelessness, evictions, deprivation and child poverty are not sufficiently dealt with in the programme for government.

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In terms of homelessness, the programme states: “Reducing and preventing homelessness is a major priority for the Government. We recognise the particular challenges of homelessness, for families and for individuals.

“We will focus our efforts on reducing the number of homeless families and individuals and work with local authorities and housing agencies to support them into long-term sustainable accommodation.”

Parliamentary members of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Greens endorsed the programme for government on Monday. The document will now be referred to the parties’ general members for ratification via a postal vote.

At Monday night’s Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar urged party members to vote in favour of the programme for government, saying it is “the right thing to do for the country”.

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Órla Ryan

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