Environment Secretary Eamon Ryan said Ireland and other EU member states must stop importing Russian fossil fuels, which are funding Vladimir Putin’s war Ukraine.
Ryan said Ireland has the ability to financially hurt Russia’s war effort and reduce the country’s reliance on imported coal, gas and oil.
He said Ireland is less dependent on Russia for energy products than some countries in Eastern Europe.
“One of the best ways we can actually take on this Putin regime is by using the hundreds of millions of euros that we send every day for imported coal, oil and gas that Russia exports and helps fund this war, no longer broadcast,” he said.
He told Radio One’s about RTÉ Tomorrow Ireland Under the programme, the Irish Government does not anticipate energy rationing if the war continues in the future.
“We are away from using Russian coal. Moneypoint was the main consumer, they switched to alternative contracts. Two thirds of our oil supplies are provided from our own terminal at Whitegate. It’s coming from the West, not the East,” he said.
“Only about 2 or 3 percent of our gas comes from imported Russian gas. So compared to other countries, especially on the eastern side of Europe, we have a less immediate threat of disruption to Russian supplies.”
Foreign Secretary Simon Coveney is taking part in a meeting with his EU counterparts today. Mr Ryan said Ireland would push for “further, strong” sanctions.
Mr Ryan said the sanctions would need to be agreed by a “united” European Union, but if they were agreed Ireland would immediately back their introduction.
However, he said further sanctions here would likely lead to increased fuel costs.
“We are dependent, especially on these fossil fuels, everyone can see the price of oil has gone up the way it is. We are exposed, we are vulnerable, we have no protection,” he said.
“So what we need to do is respond immediately — which we’ve done by providing an electricity loan, by reducing fuel costs at the pump, by reducing public transport fares… we’ve done all of those things , but we’ve also done what we need to do is accelerate the transition away from using these fossil fuels.”
It comes as the government today launched the process to build the country’s first offshore wind farms.
Minister Ryan said part of the plan is to meet Ireland’s commitment to deliver five gigawatts of offshore wind power by the end of the decade and a further 30 gigawatts by 2040.
Ireland’s sea area is seven times the land area and Minister Ryan said it could provide “ten times what we currently use”.
He said applications for “relevant projects” would open on April 25, six on the east coast and one on the west coast.
The first of these projects is scheduled to be completed in the next four years, he added.
“At the end of this decade was the goal that the government set itself two years ago considered a very ambitious goal, but based on the events in Ukraine, I think this is the minimum of our ambitions,” he said.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/politics/eamon-ryan-says-ireland-can-take-on-putin-regime-by-cutting-imports-of-russian-fossil-fuels-41469856.html Eamon Ryan says Ireland can “take on the Putin regime” by cutting Russian fossil fuel imports