Energy Policy: Motion.

I move:

That Seanad Éireann congratulates the Government on its policies aimed at decreasing this country's dependence on imported fossil fuel by increasing use of renewable energy technologies.

The International Energy Agency has for many years identified Ireland as being one of the most energy insecure countries in the world. Most of us are already aware that Ireland has long been at the mercy of international oil markets. Such a situation was tolerable, if not ideal, when oil traded at less than $60 per barrel. However, in the current climate of oil changing hands for in excess of $140 per barrel and given the predictions by industry experts that the era of $200 barrels may be around the corner, such a situation is unsustainable even before we consider the environmental argument for reducing oil consumption. This revolution in oil prices will change markets and economies and create new opportunities for development. In a world in which oil is traded at these prices, decisions will be made on the allocation of an increasingly scarce resource. As an island economy, Ireland will be particularly sensitive to these choices.

In this context, I welcome the Government's efforts to reduce our dependency on foreign oil and gas. Our support for the development of indigenous renewable energy makes sense for the environment as well as the economy. Major strides have been made in this area over the past 12 months. I welcome the initiative by the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Deputy Ryan, on pricing support mechanisms for alternative energy sources such as offshore wind, biomass, wave and tidal energy. I also welcome the initiative by the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment on designating renewable energy as a key development area for Science Foundation Ireland.

Yesterday, the Minister, Deputy Ryan, announced a study on electricity grid connection which would be undertaken in conjunction with his colleague in Scotland, stating:

With our shared location, Ireland and Scotland have a constant and plentiful wind supply. We must use this to our advantage, which interconnection allows us to do.

The authorities in Scotland are exploring the possibility of a connection with Norway. We, in turn, could link to this through an interconnection with our neighbour.

These initiatives are already beginning to bear fruit. This year will see the milestone of 1,000 MW of onshore wind power, which few would have believed possible just a few years ago. Our offshore wind developers are poised to make a substantial contribution. The National Offshore Wind Association of Ireland has commissioned a cost-benefit analysis of the impact on the Irish economy of offshore wind. If the findings of this study are positive, they will unlock an investment of more than €5 billion and a deployment over the next five years of more than 2,000 MW of offshore wind.

The changing market means that where once we were energy poor, we now have the potential to be energy rich. We have the best wind resources in Europe and some of the best in the world. In what is rapidly becoming a new world energy order, Ireland could be a net exporter of energy under the right conditions. We can build a strong sector of green collar workers who will design and deploy the technology to generate electricity for Europe as well as for Ireland. The Commissioner for Energy, Andris Piebalgs, has indicated that he wants Ireland to take up this challenge. We must play a leading role in meeting the renewable energy needs of the European Union.

The potential for renewable energy in boosting our economy is substantial not only in terms of reducing our imports of foreign oil, but for job creation, carbon abatement and export opportunities. An economic analysis carried out on the impact of Germany's renewable energy sources Act has shown a €3.5 billion net gain to that economy from deployment of wind energy on and offshore. A cost benefit analysis in the UK has indicated the potential for creating up to 76,000 jobs through the deployment of offshore wind in the north east of that country. I am sure that the Irish offshore wind analysis will show similar benefits to this economy, particularly given our strong wind resources. I ask Members to consider the potential for creating a network of wind, marine and tidal generators off the Irish coast and the jobs in manufacturing, design, deployment and training these could support.

Achieving our potential will require a partnership between industry, regulatory bodies and the Government. The Government has made its intentions clear in this regard. We have begun the process of bringing certainty to industry through guaranteed pricing structures. We have also started to address the key infrastructure issues in regard to achieving our goals. Creation of the single electricity market was an important first step. We will soon have an east-west interconnector that will allow generated energy to flow between Ireland and the UK. We will see further interconnectors with Scotland and England and ultimately the creation of a pan-European grid. The Government is supporting the first steps towards achieving this target through our work with the Scottish Assembly and the Norwegian Government. The more interconnected we are with a European grid, the better our opportunities to become a genuine energy provider and a price maker rather than a price taker.

I commend the Minister, Deputy Ryan, the Minister of State at the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Deputy Seán Power, and their officials on the work they have done to date. We are creating a business environment that will support the deployment of renewable energy. Policies implemented by this Government have supported the first deployment of wave and tidal energy in Irish waters, brought progress towards mass offshore wind power and helped the emergence of offshore wind as a mainstream power source. We are only at the beginning of our energy revolution but with the policies our Government is pursuing, Ireland can be the green energy centre for Europe. I commend the motion to the House.

I second the motion. Given the ever increasing cost of energy, this is one of the most important issues faced by Ireland and the world. Anyone who drives to a service station to fill the tank of a car, jeep or bus cannot but notice the difference in price compared to six months ago.

Energy is all around us and is needed for the growth or formation of almost everything. There are many sources of energy in our world but for too long we have relied on fossil fuels. We must move away from these finite energy sources to renewable supplies. The Government must be commended in this regard. The 2006 energy White Paper sets out targets for electricity generated from alternative and renewable energy sources in Ireland of 15% of electricity consumed in 2010 and 33% in 2020. The dominant means for providing the required new capacity will be on and offshore wind. The Government's objective is to provide additional capacity by biomass, small hydroelectricity projects and ocean energy as it works to realise the full potential of our renewable resources.

It has been documented in several studies that Ireland has some of the best environments in Europe, if not the world, for wind energy. A number of small companies are being established in the west of Ireland with a view to capturing hydro-energy. The small streams that run through grassland, highland and low-lands can be captivated and turned into energy. I acknowledge the Government's commitment to this new initiative.

Much work has been done in regard to renewable electricity which has grown rapidly since 2004. For example, in 1997, 3.6% of our energy came from renewables. This was the benchmark year for the European Union in terms of readings and recordings. This grew in 2004 to 5.2%, in 2005 to 6.8% and in 2006 to 8.6%, which is sizeable growth. It is estimated that 9.5% of our energy in 2007 came from renewables. In this regard, almost 10% of our energy comes from renewable sources.

The all-island grid study, referred to by Senator MacSharry and published in January this year, concluded that it is technically feasible that by 2020, 42% of electricity generated on the island of Ireland will be from renewable energy sources. The study shows that we have the potential to do more than reach the target of 33%. That target was always going to set the base rather than the limit of our ambitions and the Government is committed to delivering by 2020 the highest possible percentage of renewables. This will require major investment in our electricity transmission network and significant investment from the renewables sector itself.

There are other complex technical and policy challenges inherent in achieving this ambitious level of integration of renewable energy into the grid. The Grid Development Strategy 2025, which is being finalised by EirGrid, will be critical to the success of this project.

The greener homes scheme launched by Government in March 2006 provides support to homeowners wishing to invest in a range of domestic renewable energy heating technologies, including solar panels, biomass boilers and stoves and heat pumps. The scheme has proved very popular with 22,000 grant offers in place across the three technologies. Already 13,750 of these offers have been paid following the successful installation of the systems resulting in an investment of €42 million to date. These completed systems have resulted in an annual reduction of 33,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

The scheme has helped establish a very strong supply industry for the products, services and fuels while the application of strict product standards and installer training and quality schemes has ensured consumers are both informed and confident in their choices. The scheme is constantly under review. Earlier this week the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources announced Phase III of the scheme. This was timed to coincide with the recent coming into force of the revised Building Regulations 2008 which for the first time provide a compulsory requirement for some component of renewable energy in all new homes.

Under the new phase, log gasification boilers will be eligible for support when the scheme re-opens for applications on 22 July 2008. Gasification boilers for the domestic sector will be supported at a fixed rate of €2,000. Sustainable Energy Ireland runs a renewable heat deployment programme called "Reheat" which provides capital support for organisations wishing to install renewable heating technologies in their premises or to conduct analyses as to the suitability of the technology. To date, grant commitments are more than €6.5 million in respect of more than 329 approved applications. Of these projects, 154 are for biomass boilers, 96 are for solar thermal installations and 39 are for heat pumps.

Sustainable Energy Ireland also runs a combined heat and power deployment programme which has been recently expanded to take account of bio-mass combined heating power and anaerobic digestion combined heat and power. A total of 77 applications have been received of which 53 are for capital investment. More than €205 million has been committed in respect of 55 applications already approved.

On renewable transport, the Government is committed to achieving a target of 5.75% market penetration of bio-fuels by 2010 in accordance with the current EU bio-fuels directive. The Government has also committed to achieving by 2010 a 10% market penetration by renewable energy in the transport sector. This outlines some of the work being done by the Government.

I commend the motion to the House. Also, I commend the work being done by the Minister and his colleagues in the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources. We must work together to face the challenge of turning around our dependence on non-renewable sources. Renewable energy sources are all around us and must be harnessed. I welcome the initiatives being taken by Government which are welcomed by households throughout the country.

I move amendment No. 1:

To delete all words after Seanad Eireann" and substitute the following:

"condemns the Government for little progress in the area of climate change policy and notes with concern the sharp rise in greenhouse gas emissions in the transport sector which itself is almost entirely dependent on imported fossil fuels."

The most charitable explanation I can come up with for the Fianna Fáil motion is that somebody on the other side of the House from either the Green Party or Fianna Fáil got a rush of blood to the head, lost the run of themselves and wrote the motion without much reflection or thought. I believe Senator Jim Walsh, who is my opposite number, bears responsibility for this slightly bizarre motion which congratulates the Government on a set of aspirations. However, there is no record of achievement to match these aspirations. It is analogous to congratulating the Government on the state of the economy or to congratulating me on what I wish to achieve next year but have not yet done so.

I will proceed by outlining the inadequacy of the Government's performance to date, the potential that exists to perform and what should be done. I take the charitable view that as this is the holiday season somebody in Fianna Fáil was in a dreamy mood when writing the motion. That is the only explanation I can come up with.

That is very good of Senator O'Reilly.

Under the Kyoto Protocol, Ireland has committed to limiting its increase of greenhouse gases to 13% above 1990 levels, a limit that must be reached during the period 2008-12. Current levels of carbon emissions are more than 25% above 1990 levels. It does not give me pleasure to bring these facts before the House. However, the motion exposes the Fianna Fáil Party, the Green Party and Progressive Democrats to this criticism. I believe the person who wrote this motion should be censured.

The EU Commission has set Ireland a target of a 20% reduction on 2005 levels, namely, the rate of emissions must be reduced by 20% by 2020. We are way behind in achieving this target. On the fuel mix for electricity generation, in 2006 only 4.5% of our energy came from renewable sources while 92.5% came from fossil fuels. The Government stands most condemned in regard to the road transport sector. Some 97% of energy in the road transport sector comes from fossil fuels which result in high CO2 emissions. A problem arises in the context of the Government not having embraced the concept of putting in place a national railway system. Nor has it developed an education programme to persuade people to share cars and use public transport or provided a public transport system that people can use. However, the biggest condemnation of the Government — Senator Ó Domhnaill, as a native of Donegal, will understand this — is the deficiencies in the railway network throughout the country. A radical plan of action is required to develop a national railway structure to deal with the transport sector's contribution to CO2 emissions. People are still buying gas-guzzlers. There has been no education in this respect either.

The new CO2-based motor tax regime does very little to address greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, it will take only 50,000 tonnes of CO2 out of the atmosphere every year. In 2005 and 2006 a total of 682,000 tonnes of CO2 were emitted nationally, so we have 14 times the level of carbon emissions that would be removed by the new green taxes on cars. The scheme, while good in theory, is weak in practice and will achieve very little. It is a welcome drop in the ocean, but it is only a drop in the ocean and is not a basis for congratulatory motions.

Many of the Government's actions have failed to meet the deadlines set as part of the national climate change strategy targets, including the following: the drafting of a sustainable transport action plan by the Department of Transport, which was supposed to be achieved in 2007; the use of CFL long-life bulbs by all public bodies; a move to 5% bio-fuel use in all national parks and wildlife service vehicles; the publication of guidelines on sustainable residential development; the launch of a multi-annual awareness campaign on climate change; and the launch of an action plan for green public procurement. None of these was achieved in 2007, which is hardly an example of proactive government.

A fortnight ago the Cabinet approved the use of €400,000 to buy carbon credits to offset official Government travel. I understand the Green Party members of the Government forced this. The taxpayer is now paying for the carbon credits as well as the travel. I know from our interaction on the Broadcasting Bill that the Minister of State does listen and I ask him to consider this fact. At the moment, €15 million is being spent on a climate change awareness media programme, which is completely out of proportion to the €5 million being spent on insulation. This is far too much money and I suggest that some be moved to the insulation programme.

It is planned, according to the White Paper on energy, that 33% of our electricity consumption will come from renewables by 2020. As Senator Ó Domhnaill said, the contribution of renewables in 2006 was 8.6%, so we are significantly below the target. There is major potential in wind energy, but the difficulty with wind energy is access to the grid. Offshore energy is very much at an exploratory stage. Yesterday I visited the research section of the engineering department at UCD with the Joint Committee on Communications, Energy and Natural Resources. Many alternatives to land-based wind energy are only at an exploratory research stage. Wind energy has not yet been properly exploited and the big issue is access to the grid. I ask that something be done about this.

I commend the amendment to the House. I ask Senator Ó Domhnaill and his colleagues, on reflection, to accept the amendment and admit that the motion was put down as an unfortunate rush of blood to the head, without taking cognisance of the facts.

The Senator can ask but we may not do it.

I second the amendment.

This debate on the issue of renewable energy is welcome because there are clear challenges that lie before us as a country and as individuals if we are to reach our targets as a member state of the EU. It is widely known that all member states have signed up to a target of a 20% reduction in carbon emissions by 2020 and have also pledged to increase their use of renewable energy resources. This is in itself a reasonable target, but to achieve that on the ground will take serious effort across many State agencies and bodies and also by the Government.

Ireland is an island nation and we are in a vulnerable position geographically with regard to energy resources. We are very dependent on oil, gas and other fossil fuels, and our indigenous resources are quite limited. It is important that we develop a clear strategy of enhancing our use of renewable energy resources, creating indigenous opportunities across a wide range of technologies. This will need to happen at many different levels. Starting from the ground up, which is a good idea, some improvements have been made in this field. Grants are available from Sustainable Energy Ireland for individual households to install renewable energy-based systems. I acknowledge the role of SEI in creating an awareness of energy efficiency and renewable technologies among the general public. These technologies play an important role and I would like to see full support for them. I compliment SEI in this regard, although it needs more resources if it is to deliver what it set out to achieve.

I have geothermal heating in my own house and I was one of the pioneers of the technology in my own area. I installed it before there were any grants for it. I missed the grant by a year and I was a bit disappointed. As I said at the time, the pioneers often suffer as they are the people who take the risk and install the technologies but do not receive any grant aid. There were quite a few around at that time. Now the grant is there and people are luckily benefiting from it.

Geothermal technology should be promoted at every opportunity, especially in rural areas. The installation of small wind turbines for individual houses has also been facilitated, which is welcome. The planning restrictions in this regard have been removed. There are not many around at the moment but over time we may start to see more of them. I was in Northern Ireland recently and I saw quite a few at the back of houses. In addition, we see more and more solar panels in housing estates, which I welcome. These advances are at the level of individual households. Supports are continuously needed at that level.

I mentioned the role of Sustainable Energy Ireland, but we must also consider local authorities. This area is relatively new to many local authorities and they need to engage more with the promotion of renewable technologies in new developments. There are some pilot schemes up and running around the country and they have been successful, but this now needs to be rolled out into housing developments in all local authority areas. There is now a planning condition that some element of renewable energy use be included in all new developments, including geothermal or solar energy.

We must not forget the potential of hydroelectric power. I come from a small town in County Waterford, Portlaw, where there were once two water wheels at the old cotton mill site on the River Clodiagh with a generation capacity of more than 500 KW. Unfortunately, they have long since gone. I was involved in the campaign to retain the old mill, but it was bypassed by the fisheries board to allow salmon up the river. Thus, rather than maintaining a real renewable resource on our doorstep, we took the easy option and dug a big channel around it. A total of 500 KW of capacity was dug away.

The dispute went to An Bord Pleanála and the locals lost the campaign. We threw away some great renewable resources on our own doorstep, which is something I hate to see. However, it is never too late. We can always revisit these projects and reinstall hydroelectric power on smaller rivers and streams. There is no reason that cannot be done. I call on the Government to consider this as an opportunity for local authorities and communities to harness the power in local streams and rivers. I ask also that clear strategies and plans be developed by local authorities with regard to renewable energies so that they can work at the coalface in promoting the various schemes of which communities could take advantage.

We could talk about this all day but real challenges lie ahead. Ireland must produce 16% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020 and this will present challenges to industry, the transport sector and the electricity market. There are roles for the various agencies involved in this. There are planning and grid access difficulties attached to onshore renewable wind energy sources and a strategy should be adopted by all local authorities to facilitate connection where possible. There should also be consultation with the ESB and EirGrid to facilitate ease of connection for renewable resources. Offshore wind farms face difficulties including foreshore licences, connection to the grid — they must get on the foreshore first and then get proper access to the grid. There are clear challenges here.

I am aware that huge research has gone into wave and tidal power. I was lucky enough to visit the Marine Institute in Galway in recent months and saw, first-hand, two research projects on wave power. One is Wavebob and I forget the name of the other but each prototype can generate 20 KW of power. They are relatively small, about the size of a small boat, and the plan is that over time they could increase output. There will be other challenges then, such as connecting their generation capacity to the main grid.

There are clear challenges for all of us and the Government is talking a great deal about renewable energy at the moment. It is good that this is in its mind set but we are not reaching the targets at the rate we should and there are ways we could engage more with individuals, local authorities and research agencies to drive the renewable resources that are on our doorstep. All debates on this matter in the House are welcome and I feel we must work to promote renewable energy technology and indigenous resources as much as possible. I did not get to talk about bio-fuels, unfortunately. I mention this area because there are opportunities and challenges there. As we know with food security and food production, if we put all our eggs in one basket regarding bio-fuels we could fail. Bio-fuels need further research before we go down that road.

Mirror image politics are evident in tonight's motion and the Opposition's amendment to it. For a Government to congratulate itself and for an Opposition to immediately condemn it does not help debate in general, whatever of the particular item for discussion. I will come to the issue of whether the Government has a right to congratulate itself but I must admit that the first two Opposition contributions were nowhere near as churlish as I had expected, given the tone of the amendment. The Opposition has recognised the scale of the problem, the existence of best practice and the need to adopt a better approach, though the amendment could have been better worded. As to whether the Government has a right to congratulate itself, it is slightly churlish not to recognise that there has been a substantial policy change and that developments are occurring on a regular basis. We must put these changes into place. Having put the initial policy positions in place, we have set in motion a framework that, if adopted, will see further initiatives followed and the potential that exists being realised in a few years.

We may be over-consumed by the question of renewable energy because there must first be a proper understanding. I heard the other contributors speak of public education and awareness programmes on the use of energy. On foot of the discussion on the economy that we have already had today, it is worth noting that Ireland is a very wasteful nation. We produce more energy than we need and while we may ask questions on how we source this energy there are harder questions we should ask and have answered on why energy is being produced to be used in wasteful ways. We all have a contribution to make to that debate in terms of electricity generation, distribution and use and the use of energy in transport and industry. Only part of the answer lies in awareness programmes and the onus is on the Government to create appropriate incentives. There has been an attempt to start this process through the greener homes schemes, the insulation scheme, which is still in pilot phase but will be rolled out to the rest of the country, and through other initiatives like the element in this year's Finance Act that encourages industries to seek tax relief on energy saving equipment. We need to put this new type of thinking in place to encourage new behaviour throughout the country.

The substance of this motion relates to renewable energy and it will probably be repeated regularly this evening that Ireland is one of the most energy dependent countries in the world. Some 90% of our energy needs are met by imported fossil fuels and at this stage in the world's history the very existence of those fuels has a determined and finite time frame. It is not a matter of using fossil fuels better; we must find and use different sources of energy.

Ireland has huge potential and if a legitimate political criticism can be made it is that we are facing up to this problem far too late and we need to catch up quickly. Ireland has a huge capacity to achieve the generation of electricity through wind but it meets only 5% of its energy needs through this source. Denmark, a country of a similar population and a smaller land mass, meets 25% of its needs this way. Because we were so late to join the field opportunities in research and development and the building and selling of technology are an economic cost we have paid. However, they can be an opportunity in future if we start getting our act together now and I believe policies are in place to make the most of this.

The resource that is the sea provides even greater potential in terms of renewable energy through tidal power and wave power. These are developing technologies. If Ireland masters them we can sell them to a wider world, as countries like Germany and Denmark did with wind technology and the equipment that accompanies it, such as wind turbines, in a way we did not in the past.

Things will not happen overnight but we should acknowledge the work being done in Strangford Lough by the ESB between the two jurisdictions of the Republic and Northern Ireland. Work is also being done by individual companies on the west coast of Ireland, particularly on wave energy. The technology of wave energy can operate on different levels. Portugal received a great deal of European Union assistance that Ireland missed out on and built on cliff faces large concrete edifices that are not particularly environmentally sensitive. Irish technology is concentrated on buoys that measure waves either as they hit them or as they move up and down with tidal power. This creates energy. A Cork-based company is testing in Galway Bay and has moved up from a quarter-sized to a full-sized model. The success of the full-sized model could lead to a buoy farm in the middle of the ocean and this, if successful, could meet at least half of our energy needs, as outlined in the current national energy plan. These are the types of opportunities Government energy policy is creating through incentives.

We need to tackle these problems on two levels. One relates to big-picture items such as the successful negotiation by the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Deputy Eamon Ryan, of the ESB's 20 year plan. This will see €22 billion invested in our electricity system and €11 billion invested in renewable energies and it is one of the successes of the new Government policies. It goes a long way towards validating the motion put down this evening.

It is more important to accept individual responsibility for the use and generation of electricity. The measures put in place, including incentive schemes and changes to the planning regulations will allow one to use solar panels, stand-alone wind turbines and geothermal technology readily without having to go through a fully-fledged planning process. This represents a Government initiative and a positive policy change. It justifies what is stated in the amendment.

If one wanted to make a legitimate political criticism, one would say it is not that there is nothing being done but that what is being done is not being done well enough. The problem remains that there are too few initiatives. To achieve what we need to achieve, we need to continue going down the road we are on and to expand the sector very quickly and broadly. I hope the debates on this issue will be in this context. Future energy requirements are such that whoever is in Government will not be able to govern effectively or meet the needs of citizens unless we secure energy independence, which is lacking at present and which we must work so hard to achieve.

I welcome the Minister of State and the debate. The points every Member has to make are of interest. Having examined the motion and the amendment, and having listened to Senator O'Reilly with great care, I can support both sides. It is so easy to congratulate the Government on its policy aims but the motion does not state the Government has done anything. I find it easy to support the amendment, which correctly condemns the Government for "little progress in the area of climate change policy and notes with concern [as we all do] the sharp rise in green house gas emissions in the transport sector.'' On that basis, I support both the motion and the amendment. This should please both sides.

Which side will the Senator vote for?

There is an old saying that if one builds a better mouse-trap, the world will beat a path to one's door. This is very much evident today because it is clear that we face a challenge and a problem. It is not easy to solve it because, when we seek to invent the better mouse-trap, namely, that of renewable energy, we are not finding it very easy.

I was on a television programme some years ago and was asked whether I had advice to give somebody starting in business, as I had done 45 or 50 years before. I said I believed there was a future in renewable energy and that there must be a way to develop it. I was impressed no end by the number of people who contacted me from around the country with their plans, be they in respect of wave energy, tidal energy or hydroelectric energy. It is interesting to note the mini-hydroelectric efforts in this regard in County Donegal. Regardless of whether solar or wind energy is in question, various and genuine efforts are being made to solve the problems that arise. At some point, we must encourage those involved. Perhaps we will get it right and somebody will come up with the answer.

I am certain bio-fuels will not be the answer. I had the opportunity to visit Brazil some years ago and could not get over the fact that every petrol station had a 50:50 bio-fuel mix. Vehicles run on alcohol in that country but, as we heard today, it is clear this will not be the answer. Regardless of maize production in Brazil, the shift from food crops to bio-fuel crops in North America is partly responsible for the problems associated with global food security. The problem must be solved through the market economy. Prices will increase and, as they do so, we will use less power, irrespective of its source. The market economy will help in this regard.

The harm bio-fuels are doing to the environment and food prices is clear. Although we are talking about renewable energy sources, we must note that first-generation bio-fuels primarily derived from food crops such as corn, maize and sugar beet have been blamed for driving up food prices as crops have been diverted from food production into fuel production, thus causing acute shortages of food in some developing countries. This is clearly causing considerable difficulties in the locations concerned.

There is concern in the European Union that there is not enough available land to grow plants for the 10% bio-fuel target, while importing oil from outside the union would have a direct impact on food prices in the developing world. The European Environment Agency said that using the oil for transport was not as effective as running vehicles on more environmentally friendly systems, such as electricity, as we have heard today.

The environmental benefits of first-generation bio-fuels have also been questioned. Environmentalists say almost as much energy is spent producing fuel from the crops as the energy they yield. In addition, bio-fuel supply, in the medium term, is dependent on the vagaries of rainfall and sunshine. We know in Ireland how difficult these are to predict. The harmful effects of first-generation bio-fuels on the environment and on world poverty are clearly a challenge and will have to be examined much more carefully. There is a delay in the production of information on these issues and we must develop a fuller understanding of the impact of bio-fuels on food prices and the developing world.

The European Commission's proposal that sustainability monitoring be applied to any bio-fuels bought or sold in the European Union must be supported. It is no secret that the first generation of bio-fuels is having an effect on the environment and food prices that is more negative than positive, yet the Minister, Deputy Ryan, has not moved on from the policy that existed when he entered Government more than a year ago. There is a requirement to act in this area.

Two weeks ago I attended a meeting on sustainability and growth in Munich. It addressed the question of whether renewable energies are less efficient economically than fossil fuels. International evidence to date strongly supports the view that switching from subsidising fossil fuels to subsidising renewable sources of energy may be economically less efficient than maintaining thestatus quo, in other words, allowing the market to increase prices.

Renewable energy sources remain at least three times more dependent on subsidies than fossil fuels and, in absolute terms, global subsidies to fossil fuels exceed the public funding available for renewable energy sources. However, fossil fuels account for some 81% of global energy production, that is 18 times more than that from renewable sources, yet fossil fuels account for just six times more in terms of global subsidies than do renewable sources. Thus, per unit of energy supplied, fossil fuel subsidies, even at the highest estimate point, are three times less dependent on subsidies than renewable energy sources.

Renewable energy production requires equipment and techniques that generate pollution. One speaker at the conference in Munich was the boss of Toyota. All the car manufactures in Germany were asked to make a presentation on what they were doing but the only car company that accepted was Toyota. Perhaps the best example of the problem to which I refer is the Toyota Prius, the hybrid car that delivers significant cuts in carbon dioxide emissions in everyday use. Studies have found that manufacturing a Toyota Prius requires such extensive use of pollution-intensive technologies that each owner would have to drive his or her car in excess of 170,000 miles, or nearly 300,000 km, before realising actual emissions savings by comparison with an average mid-class saloon. This poses a real challenge and addressing it is not very easy although it might seem so. We did not know this before Toyota told us the wonderful job it is doing. It is doing a wonderful job, but at a high cost. We must lower the cost but it is highly unlikely that we will be able to do so in the shorter term.

Storage technologies for renewable energy are so costly that even the most viable ones, such as water storage technology, consume more than 90% of the energy they are supposed to store. These costs do not take into account the highly polluting and environmentally disruptive nature of the storage technologies. In a time of economic uncertainty, as in Ireland at present, the costly and uncertain nature of renewable energies must be debated.

It was very interesting to hear other Senators because they covered a range of issues of which I was not aware. However, the development of renewable energy sources presents a challenge. While there is a definite feel-good factor associated with renewable energy sources, is it enough to justify the changes?

At the G8 summit yesterday, the G8 leaders congratulated themselves on having taken a significant step forward on climate change. However, they ran into trouble immediately. The emerging nations of China, India, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa demanded a much more concerted effort from the developed world. They want those eight nations represented at G8 summits to commit themselves to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% to 90% below the 1999 level by 2050. However, the other nations also claim this is insufficient and in addition, want them to set targets for the halfway point of 2020. Therefore, while George W. Bush and others were congratulating themselves, they have realised that while they have made some progress, it is not nearly enough and will not be accepted.

This is the challenge we are setting for ourselves and we will not find it easy. I believe this problem will be solved by the marketplace because we will be obliged to use much less energy than in the past.

I am delighted to have the opportunity to update the House on the significant progress achieved in harnessing our renewable energy resources and the challenging targets set by the Government to increase the contribution of indigenous renewable energy resources to our energy mix in the future. It is appropriate to discuss this matter in the House as the same issues are being debated in many other forums, both nationally and internationally.

There are a number of aspects to the energy challenge facing us. The first is climate change and our share of global carbon reduction targets. The second concerns the security of our energy supply and in particular our dependence on imported oil and gas from politically sensitive regions of the world. The third pertains to the dwindling supplies of cheap and easily accessible oil and gas, coupled with rising demand from developing economies. The fourth aspect concerns volatile and rising energy costs and their impact on the competitiveness of the economy and the day-to-day living costs of the citizens.

Our response to these challenges is necessarily complex and varied and while there are no easy solutions, I believe there is wide consensus that the fundamentals of the solution revolve around reducing our demand for energy through dramatically increasing our overall energy efficiency and diversifying our sources of energy by rapidly increasing our renewable energy sector.

I apologise for interrupting but will a copy of the Minister for State's speech be circulated to Members?

I will have that matter checked.

The challenging targets the Government has set are to increase the contribution of renewable energy to the markets for electricity, heat and transport to 33%, 12% and 10%, respectively, by 2020. In the case of renewable electricity, the quantified targets are 15% of electricity from renewable sources by 2010 and 33% by 2020. It is estimated that the 15% target requires an installed capacity of 1,650 MW. Capacity of approximately 1,200 MW already has been constructed. Moreover, a further 150 projects, with a combined additional installed capacity of approximately 1,500 MW, already have been accepted into REFIT, Ireland's feed-in tariff system. Because all the aforementioned projects have planning permission and a grid connection offer, one can be confident the 2010 target will be met and exceeded.

In January this year, together with my counterpart in Northern Ireland, I published the all-island grid study. This is one of the most advanced and comprehensive studies of its kind in the world. The study examines a range of generation portfolios for Ireland and ultimately shows the ability of our power system to handle approximately 42% of electricity from renewable sources on an all-island basis. It also examines the investment levels required both in respect of new generation capacity and the necessary supporting infrastructure and outlines the climate change and security of supply benefits that would accrue.

Ireland is firmly committed to EU targets on renewable energy in transport. The key question is how to define and implement a sustainability regime to maximise the benefit of bio-fuels without causing environmental damage or social problems, while simultaneously developing other technologies, such as fuel cells, biogas and electric vehicles.

The Government has made a commitment to achieve a target of 5.75% market penetration of bio-fuels by 2010 in accordance with the existing EU bio-fuels directive. It is also committed to achieving 10% market penetration by renewable energy in the transport sector in Ireland by 2020. This is the target proposed by the EU Commission in the draft climate and energy package. Significantly, the objective in that draft is for a 10% share of renewable energy in transport, not a flat inclusion of 10% bio-fuels in transport fuels.

The sustainability criteria under negotiation in Brussels are aimed at ensuring that bio-fuels counted towards EU targets deliver real and worthwhile net emissions savings, do not cause disruption to communities in the developing world and that important natural habitats and ecosystems are preserved. My Department is taking an active role in these negotiations and is working closely with the Commission and other member states to ensure that the final set of criteria is robust, effective and workable.

Furthermore, my Department is administering the bio-fuels mineral oil tax relief schemes that were launched in 2005 and 2006 and have resulted in 18 projects being awarded excise relief between 2005 and 2010. The schemes were designed as interim measures to accelerate the level of bio-fuels in the national fuel mix, in advance of the introduction of a bio-fuels obligation. As a result of these schemes, bio-fuels are already being mainstreamed in blends of up to 5% at a number of existing petrol and diesel pumps and higher blends are being sold to identified vehicle fleets, which are known as captive fleets.

The proposed new directive is under discussion at present with a view to securing a Council agreement by the end of this year. While the Government is committed to existing targets, they must be set in the context of a framework for robust sustainability criteria in respect of production and deployment.

I will be publishing a draft of the bio-fuels obligation document shortly, which will set out the manner in which I propose to meet the 2010 targets, and which also will provide a means of meeting a large part of the 2020 renewable energy in transport targets. The introduction of the obligation will require all fuel suppliers to ensure that bio-fuels represent a certain percentage of their annual fuel sales. The bio-fuels obligation will provide a long-term market-based framework for the development of a bio-fuels sector and delivery of bio-fuels targets to 2020, and will provide the market with the certainty it requires to continue to invest. The bio-fuels obligation will take full account of EU developments regarding bio-fuels and related sustainability criteria, once agreed. Our collective objective in the European Union must be to ensure that production and investment in bio-fuels is fully sustainable worldwide and does not have harmful consequences for developing countries in either environmental or food security terms.

I fully support the Commission's objective to set a sustainable framework for bio-fuels policy, which will see the EU taking a lead in this complex area. Bio-fuels are an important aspect of the Government's response to rising emissions in the transport sector. Through appropriate research, demonstration and development schemes, such as the Charles Parsons awards, it is incentivising the development of second generation bio-fuels, which will not use food stocks as raw material input. It is also examining the feasibility of other renewable energy sources for use in the transport sector such as biogas and electric vehicle use.

Electric vehicles, including hybrid-electric, plug-in hybrid or battery electric, offer an increasingly realistic solution in respect of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transport and dependence on imported fossil fuels. There has been highly significant global investment in research and development in this field over decades and the technology is now maturing to a point at which large-scale commercial deployment appears feasible in the medium term.

Sustainable Energy Ireland has recently published reports on hybrid electrical vehicles and battery electric vehicles. These reports focus on potential measures that might be used to stimulate uptake in Ireland and make a series of recommendations with regard to how this might be best accomplished. These provide a useful template for the way forward and will be considered as part of the work of my Department's renewable energy development group and in the sustainable transport and travel action plan being finalised at present by my colleague, the Minister for Transport.

My colleague, the Minister for Transport, has indicated that public transport operators, which are the subject of public service obligations, have been instructed to move to a 5% biodiesel blend in the current fleet immediately, with the view to ensuring that all new buses, as part of future fleet replacement, can operate on a 30% blend, subject to technical and logistical constraints. It is expected that the obligation will be implemented in 2009. The Department of Transport will also continue to look at the technical and economic feasibility of buses and heavy goods vehicles operating on 100% pure plant oil as well as any potential regulation of engine modification or suitable fuels.

In February 2008 the Department of Transport launched its document "2020 Vision: Sustainable Travel and Transport: Public Consultation Document", which sets out the Government's vision for a sustainable transport system by 2020 and seeks to elicit response from stakeholders and the public on how certain policies and measures could be introduced to reduce discretionary demand for travel and improve energy efficiency. The need for a sustainable travel and transport action plan emerged during the preparation of the Energy White Paper, "Delivering a Sustainable Energy Future for Ireland" and the revised National Climate Change Strategy 2007-2012, when it was recognised that adverse trends in the transport sector in Ireland had to be addressed.

In the context of our renewable energy ambitions we need to mobilise as yet untapped biomass resources, including the potential offered by marine algae or seaweed. Work is currently under way to determine what the marine environment might contribute to developing the national bio-fuels capacity. The analysis will include identifying the necessary research, development and demonstration projects to realise any such potential.

The greener homes scheme, launched in March 2006, provides support to homeowners to invest in a range of domestic renewable energy heating technologies including solar panels, biomass boilers and stoves, and heat pumps. The scheme has proved popular since its launch, with 22,000 grant offers in place across the three technologies. Already 13,750 of these offers have been paid following the successful installation of the systems, resulting in the investment of $42 million to date. These completed systems have resulted in annual reduction of 33,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions. The scheme has helped establish a strong supply industry for the products, services and fuels while the application of strict product standards and installer training and quality schemes has ensured that consumers are both informed and confident in their choices.

The scheme is constantly under review. Earlier this week my colleague, the Minister, Deputy Ryan, announced phase III of the scheme. This was timed to coincide with the recent coming into force of the revised building regulations 2008 which for the first time see a compulsory requirement for some component of renewable energy in all new homes.

It is recognised that the installation of renewable heating systems in existing homes is typically more complex and therefore more expensive. As a result it is appropriate to continue to provide support to this sector while the market reaches ultimate maturity. Therefore, the main change under phase III of the scheme is that henceforth only existing — at least one year old — houses will be eligible for support. There will be a small reduction in the levels of support for the existing biomass technologies.

In addition, as part of this new phase, gasification boilers as part of a new biomass technology is being added to the scheme and becomes eligible for support. All details will be published on Sustainable Energy Ireland's website when the scheme reopens for applications on 22 July 2008. Gasification boilers for the domestic sector will be supported at a fixed rate of €2,000.

SEI also runs a renewable heat deployment programme, called ‘Reheat', which provides capital support for organisations wishing to install renewable heating technologies in their premises or to conduct analyses as to the suitability of the technology. A total of 416 applications have been received since the launch of the programme, 136 of which have been received since the start of 2008 representing an increase of 109% on the same period last year. Of those applications, 355 are for capital investment, with grant commitments now over €6.5 million across 329 approved applications. Of these projects, 154 are for biomass boilers, 96 are for solar thermal installations and 39 are for heat pumps.

SEI also runs a combined heat and power deployment programme, which has recently been expanded to take into account biomass CHP and anaerobic digestion CHP. A total of 77 applications have been received, of which 53 are for capital investment, with 55 approved for a total commitment level of over €2.5 million.

We have seen a rapid increase in our levels of renewable electricity in recent years where it now amounts to almost 9.5% of our overall electricity generation. This is double the figure of three years ago. We have seen the success of our greener homes scheme, where we have created markets with approximately 10,000 domestic renewable energy systems a year being installed. Two or three years ago this figure would only have been in the hundreds. We have trained hundreds of renewable technology installers all over the country and local supply chains are developing to harness our local biomass resources to substitute for imported fossil fuels. We have just introduced new domestic building regulations, which are among the most challenging anywhere in Europe from an energy efficiency perspective and which have underpinned the renewable energy sector by making renewable technologies compulsory in new buildings. This is just the start, as we are now significantly accelerating our renewable energy programmes to ensure we deliver on our 2020 targets as we strive to eliminate carbon from our future energy supply.

I welcome the Minister of State, Deputy Seán Power, to the House. Energy use and sustainability is an issue that will become ever more pressing in the near future. In this regard,per capita carbon emissions in Ireland are the second highest in Europe. Between 1990 and 2005, Ireland was one of the five top European countries for experiencing an increase in carbon emissions, the others being Spain, Greece, Austria and Italy. We need to improve quickly on this because it is evident that climate change is already having a noticeable effect and a detrimental impact on our climate.

Our seasons have changed. We are experiencing summers and winters that are warmer than ever before. Eleven out of the last 12 summers have been the hottest in over 150 years. In fact, six of the ten warmest summers on record have happened since 1990. In Ireland's new winters frost and snow are being substituted by rain due to the warmer temperatures. Essentially, it is getting warmer and also wetter.

As a nation, we have done little to reverse these trends. If we do nothing, it will get worse. The continued change in our weather systems will end up leading to a dramatic shift in the way we run our agriculture sector, for instance, and that will happen within the next 30 years. Hotter, drier summers will drastically affect any efforts we are making to reforest more of the island. Importantly, water supplies, especially in urban areas, will come under unprecedented pressure.

While we continually debate this issue, the reality is that there is no structure, plan or strategy to deal with this. That is worrying. It cannot be denied that this is likely to happen sooner rather than later and the Government has no ideas on how to improve the situation.

The Minister of State, Deputy Seán Power, stated that it is over two years since the greener homes scheme was introduced. However, in that time there have been few new ideas coming from the Government. Apart from the introduction of some building regulations, the commissioning of studies is all that seems to be happening. Therefore, I am disinclined to congratulate the Government on favouring renewable energy sources over fossil fuels because it is not evident they are doing so.

Despite having read an extract from the programme for Government, I am still in the dark as to what exactly are its policies on energy and renewable energy. There appear to be three main pillars dealing with the topic of energy in Ireland in the programme for Government; one pillar deals with the security of supply of energy, the second deals with the competitiveness of our energy market and the third deals with the environmental sustainability of our energy use. In all three pillars I cannot find a single commitment that takes us steadily, safely and sustainably away from fossil fuels.

In the security of supply section, the programme for Government mentions efficiency and availability of energy. It refers to a reliable energy network that works for consumers. The section on competitiveness is also fairly open, referring to the single electricity market and an intention to maintain a State-owned infrastructure for electricity and gas.

I turned to the section on environmental sustainability thinking I might find something of substance, but all I got was waffle, with lots of sugary, syrupy words about saving energy and resources. There is not one commitment in it. There is no leadership on the issue of sustainability and there are no guarantees on introducing any new policies to deal with this matter.

There is no commitment to move to sustainability in the transport sector. Instead the Government will promote the idea. There is no leadership in changing the way homes are powered or built. Instead, there is vague talk of incentivising people to move to greener homes. There is no guarantee of rapid investment and development of existing energy technology, such as wind energy. Instead the Government will keep this area "under examination". There is no commitment, leadership or guarantees.

If ever there was a time when we needed real leadership, it is now. The best estimates point to our reaching peak oil in four years, by 2012. At that point Ireland will be in a very dangerous situation. In 2004, we used 9 million tonnes of oil, which is almost a doubling of oil use in 14 years. Ireland is ranked third highest among EU states in use of oil per head of population, which is dangerous for food supplies and electricity production and means there is a danger we will not be able to satisfy our transport needs.

We need to hear less waffle and more about firm commitments and guarantees. How will the Government tackle the approach of peak oil? What will it do to tackle our dependancy on fossil fuels and foreign oil? When will it actively promote and develop clean energy? I will vote against the Government's motion as I cannot vote for a policy that does not exist.

I am pleased to speak after Senator Hannigan as I can provide some statistics on what the Government has done. The Senator should not leave just yet as he will miss the reply. At the Joint Committee on Climate Change and Energy Security today, it was announced that there will be 3,000 MW of renewable energy from the third gate of the available schemes. This is a tangible example of what is being delivered. Unfortunately, the Senator has not waited to hear a response, which is sometimes the problem with debates in the House. People make inaccurate points, then ask questions about what is being done but will not wait to hear the answers, of which there are plenty. I could not wait to provide a reply to the Senator. Gate 1 produced 375 MW and gate 2 produced 1,300 MW. The targets are tangible and are not just national but European.

At a national level we have created more stringent targets. It is estimated that 4,500 MW will be needed to reach the target of 33% of power from renewable energy sources by 2020. If all gate 2 projects proceed, there will be 2,725 MW on the system. There are 7,000 MW in the queue. This is a real, tangible example of what is being delivered under the Government strategy. It is a nonsense and ridiculous to say it is all waffle and there is nothing happening. I wonder to what extent Senator Hannigan is aware of the current initiatives throughout the country, of which there are plenty.

Before I discuss bio-gas I wish to make some remarks on bio-fuels. The contribution of Senator Feargal Quinn on this matter seemed to be very negative, or perhaps wary is a more appropriate description. I understand there are global issues relating to pricing on this matter at present. I met a person this afternoon who mentioned an interesting statistic. We should not have a knee-jerk reaction to bio-fuels. This person said if there is a 1% decrease in the global availability of maize, it has an impact on the price of more than 100%. A 1% reduction in the availability of maize is modest in a global sense, but the impact on the price of the maize is phenomenal and completely out of proportion.

This is what we are responding to at present and one can be sure the producers of maize, wheat and corn throughout the world will change their practices because of the fluctuation in market prices. This is not a stable situation and we cannot decide future policy in this area based on that. It is necessary for matters to settle somewhat. This statistic brings a sense of proportion to the whole subject. At the committee meeting this afternoon there was a discussion on developing an indigenous bio-fuel industry in Ireland. We must be careful how we proceed to ensure we develop a sustainable bio-fuels market. For this reason I am especially interested in the options for bio-gas.

I was pleased to learn Sustainable Energy Ireland has invested research and development funding in this area. I intend to spend time in the coming month travelling throughout the country examining what are deemed model sites dealing with anaerobic digestion, treating animal waste and so on. Through bio-gas in the broad sense of the term we can solve several problems, including those created by the meat rendering industry. At present we export a good deal of rendered meat at great expense, whereas we could be generating fuel for cars or heating systems.

In this respect travel broadens the mind. On a recent trip of the Joint Committee on Climate Change and Energy Security to Stockholm we met many people and businesses providing novelty in this area. Ireland could do much work in this regard and could receive help to reach energy independence. This is the aim of Government policy — to decrease the high dependence on fossil fuels. It takes a small degree of innovation. The person I spoke to this afternoon indicated that one simple measure, such as the provision of excise relief for bio-gas, would open doors and allow producers and investors the necessary security — it is a risky business — and encouragement to invest. I intend to carry out a good deal of research during the summer months in this area and I will revert to the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources and the Joint Committee on Climate Change and Energy Security with my findings.

Much progress has been made in the area of building regulations and housing standards. I very much wish the Government would commit to the idea of a zero carbon house. The UK Government has made such a decision and I have spoken on this matter previously. All housing can be built in this way. This UK Government has committed to providing zero carbon new houses by 2016. I believe we should follow suit, as this is what we need to do. If our building regulations were updated, it would be a possibility here too and I encourage the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government to consider it. I recognise, having just considerably amended the building regulations, the Government may decide it is rather onerous to create an additional burden. However we have targets we must meet, and there are many penalties if we do not. I hope the Minister considers the long-term view which includes good, sustainable housing for communities in the future.

Ba mhaith liom ar dtús báire buíochas a thabhairt don Aire Stáit as a bheith anseo linn tráthnóna. I thank the Minister of State, Deputy Seán Power, for his contribution to what has been a good debate on what is being done trying to move away from our dependence on fossil fuels and non-renewable energy sources to renewable energy sources. The Opposition may have its views but when its members reflect quietly away from the Seanad they will slowly agree with what is being done.

The highlight of the action taken to date would be relevant to Senator Coffey's contribution. Before the Government introduced some of the schemes we now have, the Senator was unable to avail of relief and assistance. Had the Senator waited until the Government introduced its scheme, he may have been able to avail of it as well. Senators Coffey and O'Reilly, as well as their colleagues, can all avail of the scheme, as can their constituents.

I commend a number of current initiatives. Sustainable Energy Ireland is doing excellent work, promoting its work at an individual level for the homeowners, as well as for business owners and schools. It does not always get the recognition for this promotional activity which it deserves. It was referred to on the other side of the House and I agree with the comments. It was established by the Department and is doing much excellent work.

The Minister of State outlined the targets set and what is being done to achieve and surpass them. I welcome the work being done in this regard. Further announcements will be made on the greener homes scheme by the end of the month. This is an excellent scheme and younger people seeking to build their homes in particular are availing of grant aid from it. A change of mindset might be required.

I agree with some of Senator Coffey's views with regard to the educational dimension. Perhaps we should consider this in conjunction with local authorities and schools, and although work is being done, perhaps we could do more.

I have no hesitation in recommending the motion to the House and acknowledging all the views expressed in this debate. I know Senator O'Reilly will quietly reflect on the matters. The Senator made the point that people should perhaps travel to work together. Does this mean Senator O'Reilly will be travelling with Senator Wilson to Leinster House and going home with him on a Thursday evening? If a statement like that is made, we have an obligation to stand over it. I am sure Senators O'Reilly and Wilson will make those arrangements.

Gabhaim buíochas leis an Aire Stáit as a bheith anseo tráthnóna to update us on what the Department is doing. We look forward to having him back in the House in the near future.

Amendment put.
The Seanad divided: Tá, 16; Níl, 25.

  • Burke, Paddy.
  • Buttimer, Jerry.
  • Coffey, Paudie.
  • Cummins, Maurice.
  • Doherty, Pearse.
  • Fitzgerald, Frances.
  • Hannigan, Dominic.
  • McFadden, Nicky.
  • O’Reilly, Joe.
  • Phelan, John Paul.
  • Prendergast, Phil.
  • Regan, Eugene.
  • Ross, Shane.
  • Ryan, Brendan.
  • Twomey, Liam.
  • White, Alex.


  • Boyle, Dan.
  • Butler, Larry.
  • Callely, Ivor.
  • Carty, John.
  • Cassidy, Donie.
  • Corrigan, Maria.
  • Daly, Mark.
  • Ellis, John.
  • Feeney, Geraldine.
  • Hanafin, John.
  • Keaveney, Cecilia.
  • Leyden, Terry.
  • MacSharry, Marc.
  • McDonald, Lisa.
  • Ó Domhnaill, Brian.
  • Ó Murchú, Labhrás.
  • O’Brien, Francis.
  • O’Donovan, Denis.
  • O’Malley, Fiona.
  • O’Sullivan, Ned.
  • Ormonde, Ann.
  • Phelan, Kieran.
  • Walsh, Jim.
  • White, Mary M.
  • Wilson, Diarmuid.
Tellers: Tá, Senators Maurice Cummins and Joe O’Reilly; Níl, Senators Fiona O’Malley and Diarmuid Wilson.
Amendment declared lost.
Motion put and declared carried.