Much needed clarity provided - Irwin

Newry & Armagh DUP Assemblyman William Irwin MLA has said the passing of the Climate Change No2 Bill will give some certainty and clarity for the industry into the future.
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Speaking after the passing of the Bill and the subsequent withdrawal of the Green Party backed Private Members Bill, Mr Irwin said it was clear the DAERA Bill was a compromise from what the Minister had put forward in the first instance but represented a much more positive outlook than the Green Party PMB - a Bill sponsored by the majority of political parties.

Mr Irwin said: “Let’s be absolutely clear, achieving the targets contained within the No.2 Bill will be a challenge, that has been made clear from the outset. The passing of the No 2 Bill is a compromise position given the fact many parties in the Assembly were pursuing much more onerous and financially damaging targets through the multi-party sponsored Green Party Private Members Bill.

“During the early stages of debate around climate change legislation, the very helpful and detailed analysis provided by the world renowned firm KMPG through their report, was instrumental in spelling out in stark terms the damage that bad legislation could do.

“I have no doubt this work, the communications made by the agri-food sector, alongside the recommendations made by the CCC, helped to move those wanting much more onerous targets to pull back from the brink.”

He continued: “With a much clearer view now of the way ahead, it is vital that the Assembly works to prioritise funding and assistance for industry across the piece to enable those in business to meet the challenges and also fund new technologies. There is no other way to achieve progress.”

Mr Irwin stated: “There has been some commentary around Amendment 17 which sought to lighten the load on the agri-food sector and this was an attempt by the Minister to in effect separate out agriculture from the requirements and allow it to play to its important strengths. This was not supported and I note that the Alliance party seem bizarrely intent on revisiting the issue of split targets for methane in the new Assembly mandate.

“What is very clear is that this is the start of a what I envisage to be a long journey towards meeting climate change targets and it is vital that everyone at the political table reigns in their expectations and keeps a very firm grip on reality. The current crisis in Ukraine and the massive implications of this war is sending shock waves across the global economy. We must take decisions with the economic realities of the crisis firmly in mind and no one should be pursuing policies which seek to weaken our economy, lessen our ability to meet domestic need or plunge our agri-food sector in to danger.”