Minister Pippa Hackett has told Portlaoise students that she’s glad the Green Party made the decision to form a coalition government.
“From a Green Party perspective, we have achieved so much in just over a year,” she said. “Ireland, along with many nations, has been late to addressing climate change and biodiversity loss. Now we have to make sure we waste no more time, and implement all the commitments we have made.
The Minister was speaking at a ‘Communicating Europe’ event at Portlaoise College, and said the Midlands was not alone among EU regions making major transitions as part of climate action.
She acknowledged that Offaly and Laois are particularly impacted by moves toward low carbon – Bord na Mona having been a significant employer in peat extraction and the ESB employing people in electricity generation at coal and peat burning power plants.
“The nature of employment in energy production has changed, and it is now government policy to support renewable energy projects, and the clean, green jobs these will provide. Just Transition funding has also been provided to enable communities to support new enterprises,” she said.
She commended the fifth year students for their interest in politics, fielding questions from them on fracking, compromise in coalition and the achievements of COP 26.
“I would also like to give a special mention to Ben Campbell of Portlaoise College Student Council who was recently elected as ISSU Regional Officer”
Minister Hackett said, urging the students to register to vote as soon as they turn 18, and to keep their minds open to different viewpoints.
“Politics is the art of the possible, and usually compromise is required. That’s how progress is made,” she said.
Finally, as ‘Black Friday’ approaches, Minister Hackett encouraged the students to go green by buying local and, if shopping online, to find Irish companies to support.