Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Questions (78)

Mick Wallace

Question:

78. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if he will consider moving forward the date that Moneypoint is to stop coal burning operations in view of the recognition that Ireland is in a climate emergency in addition to the reports of human rights abuses, population displacement and environmental destruction associated with the mine in which the majority of coal is sourced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21532/19]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

It is settled policy that electricity generation from coal will cease no later than 2025. This position has been set out in a number of policy documents, including the National Mitigation Plan and the National Development Plan 2018-2027. The 2016 Programme for Government included a commitment to identify the most suitable replacement low-carbon generation technology as soon as possible. The ESB has confirmed that coal-fired generation at Moneypoint will cease no later than 2025. The production, sourcing and buying of fuel is an operational matter for the board and management of ESB and is not one in which the Minister has a statutory function. The Department is advised that, as part of ESB’s commitment to use responsibly sourced coal, ESB joined Bettercoal in 2014. Bettercoal was established by a group of major coal buyers, including utilities, rather than the coal mining industry. Its mission is to promote continuous improvement in the mining and sourcing of coal for the benefit of all the people impacted by the industry – including workers and their communities. It carries out its assessments using key principles. These are Legal Compliance, Policies and Systems, Business Ethics (both disclosure/transparency and fraud/corruption), Human Rights, Workers Rights, Community Engagement, Environment, Pollution Prevention and Biodiversity.