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Free public transport and a 50% cut in national dairy herd pledged by Solidarity-People Before Profit

The party launched its climate action manifesto in Dublin today.

Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews

SOLIDARITY-PEOPLE BEFORE Profit has pledged to introduce a free public transport system by tripling investment and subsidising journeys if it forms the next government.

Launching its “Planet Before Profit” climate change manifesto today, the party said it would facilitate the plan by adding 500 electric buses every year at cost of €500 million.

Last year, Minister for Transport Shane Ross revealed that the estimated cost of introducing free public transport was €600 million euro.

Dublin South Central TD Bríd Smith said that Ireland currently experienced poor public transport service because too many cars used the country’s roads.

“This is because there were massive cuts to our public transport system during the austerity years, most of which has not been reinstated in terms of the numbers of buses on the roads and the numbers of trains on the tracks and the frequency of buses and trains,” she said.

“One of the radical policies we’re proposing is free and frequent public transport and that would actually help to alleviate the huge problem with our inequality, to reduce our emissions.”

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Solidarity-People Before Profit’s other climate action proposals include putting the major agri-corporations into public ownership and using their resources to help finance a “Just Transition” for farmers and rural Ireland.

The party said it will also reduce the dairy herd by 50% and compensate farmers with a New Green Payment.

The manifesto also proposes to impose a pollution tax on airline corporations and invest in cycle lanes and electrify the rail network.

The party has also pledged to set up a state-owned renewable energy company to create 90% of Irish electricity from renewables by 2030.

It opposes the implementation of a carbon tax because it says that most of the houses in the State are poorly insulated.

Elsewhere, the party promised to create a state building company to carry out a retrofit of housing stock while also giving home owners a 30,000 euro loan to cover the cost.

Smith said the far-reaching and radical climate change document is needed to tackle the climate catastrophe.

“This document here is a manifesto for what we would call an equal socialist climate action,” she said.

“It covers a wide range areas from agriculture to transport, to clean energy, to residential areas, including retrofitting homes and how we’re going to do it to deliver the sort of changes that are needed.”

Richard Boyd Barrett said that Solidarity-People Before Profit has the best record of putting forward radical environmental and climate change policies in the Dail.

“I challenge anybody to disprove it because being green isn’t a colour, and it’s not a political brand,” he said.

“It’s about actually proposing and fighting for measures that will make a difference, and I really feel the public are owed the truth about these things.”

With reporting from Seán Murray.

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