Only 8% of the Irish public believe that tackling climate change should be the next government’s top priority, according to the results of an MRBI opinion poll published last week. This low percentage didn’t stop Fine Gael and Fianna Fail caving into the Green Party’s very far-reaching demand that we cut our carbon emissions in half over the next 10 years. The capitulation raises questions about the nature of Irish democracy. So does the largely uncritical coverage that the Green Party agenda receives. Even during the general election, it was obvious that climate change was not a big issue for voters. Commentators and politicians noted it was rarely raised on the doorsteps. This was despite enormous media coverage of the issue, with RTE basically campaigning about it for months. What has been notable since the programme was published last week is how little discussion there has been of how much the 7% commitment is going to cost us, and whether it has a proper democratic mandate. The only real debate seems to be among the 3,000-plus membership of Green Party itself, with its Extinction Rebellion wing opposing the deal on the grounds that it doesn’t go far enough. Unless more than two-thirds of these members approve the programme, it’s back to the drawing board for the political parties, and maybe another election.
Times 21st June 2020 read more »