Jennifer Whitmore TD

Environment Minister Eamon Ryan has accepted an offer from Social Democrats TD Jennifer Whitmore to pair for tomorrow’s no confidence Dáil vote, meaning he will now not have to return home from COP28 in Dubai.

Deputy Whitmore, who is the party’s spokesperson on climate and biodiversity, said:

“I am deeply concerned at some of the rhetoric at COP28, particularly the ludicrous claim from summit President, Sultan Al Jabar, that there is no science indicating a phase-out of fossil fuels is needed to restrict global temperatures to 1.5C.

“This is dangerous climate scepticism and enhances the need for Ireland to have continuity of representation at this crucial event.

“The notion of Minister Ryan having to fly back from Dubai – and then immediately return to the summit after the no confidence motion – made absolutely no sense from a practical or environmental perspective.

“Rather than missing the talks for two days to return to cast a single vote, it is preferable that the minister remains at COP28 and ensures that Ireland’s voice is heard.

“The devastating impact of climate change, which is happening right now, can be seen both here at home and around the world. With so much at stake, it is vital that the minister remains in Dubai to concentrate on the difficult, but critical, decisions that need to be made at this year’s climate conference.

“Having regard to all of this, on Sunday morning I offered to pair with the minister. After discussing the matter with the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste, he has now accepted.

“I, like my colleagues in the Social Democrats, have no confidence in the Justice Minister – and our party will be voting no confidence in Tuesday’s motion.

“The pairing will not impact the outcome of that vote. It simply means I will not be voting, so Minister Ryan does not have to fly home. Our votes will therefore cancel each other out.

“The minister must now make his time at COP28 count – and ensure that ambitious targets are agreed and, crucially, resourced and implemented.”

December 4, 2023

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