I am happy to speak on this issue. There is no doubt that, for us at least, the major concern in the European context continues to be Brexit and the planned exit date for the UK of 31 October. Who the Prime Minister will be at this point is unknown, but it looks likely that Boris Johnson will be the victor of the ongoing Tory Party leadership contest, although we have no hand, act or part in that. Who knows? He may prove to be as bad as anticipated. However, there is broad agreement that he made a great success of his two terms as Mayor of London, one of the most diverse and important financial capitals in the EU and beyond.
From the agenda, I see that the European Council will take the relevant decisions on appointments for the next institutional cycle and adopt the 2019-2024 strategic agenda for the Union. This is very ambitious, given the ongoing degree of uncertainty that continues to exist around the nature and scale of the challenges Europe will continue to face up to 2024 and beyond. What is more important, at least in the immediate term, is the Council's plan to return to the issue of climate change ahead of the United Nations Secretary General's climate action summit on 23 September next.
We have seen the outline of the Government climate strategy, which was announced earlier this week in a blaze of glory but which is an absolute joke. There is no sense that those who proposed or drafted it have been anywhere near a rural town in the past ten years. There are many such towns in the constituency of the Minister of State, Deputy McEntee. They are struggling and are on their knees, with businesses closing due to planning laws and the rates system, as well as the proliferation of big supermarkets on their outskirts, something which has had a detrimental effect. These are policies we inherited from the United States and England. We are suffering. I can name the towns - Carrick-on-Suir and Clonmel, which used to be the biggest inland town in the country, right up to Tipperary town and on to Thurles and Nenagh, and there are many more. The heart has been taken out of them due to bad planning decisions, combined with the onset of the recession, excessive rates and parking charges.
We hear the Taoiseach talking about nudging people out of their cars. We would not have to nudged out of our cars if broadband was delivered but we have seen the fiasco in that regard. There are to be major and dramatic transport shifts, including limiting access to town centres, and, in the Taoiseach's words, nudging people out of their cars on the fairy tale chance that this Government will be able to roll out anything like an effective electric car network.
Nobody believes that. I salute the people who have moved to electric vehicles. I admired one such vehicle recently. I met the owners in Ballyporeen and they allowed me to have a look at it. It was a 191 registered car and they were excited about it but they said it was not possible to travel long distances in it. Apparently, if one uses the cigarette lighter or the fan, it eats into the battery power, thus the mileage one can travel is reduced and one might not be able to find a charging point. The Government needs to get real. It cannot even roll out broadband so how in God's name does it propose to roll out electric vehicles? As I said, the Government needs to get real. It needs to come into the real world and to talk sense instead of trying to hijack the Green Party's agenda because of its result in the local and European elections. That is all it is doing as far as I can see. This is a distraction from the real issues that are facing people every day of the week.
The national broadband plan, from a climate perspective in the sense that greater connectivity allows for reduced car use and increased remote working and working from home, has been an unmitigated failure. It is estimated it will cost five or six times the original cost. Since I was first elected to this House 12 years ago, there have been promises of roll-out after roll-out. The churn-rolling competition held in Tipperary town is not going ahead this year, which is a pity. There was more rolling done there than will ever be done in terms of broadband roll-out. It is impossible. The Government is playing games with the people. People in rural Ireland are sick and tired of the promises.
Dublin city is congested beyond belief. We heard stories last night during Private Members' time of low-paid workers in restaurants and so on not being given their tips. The people are being ripped off left, right and centre. The Government is complicit in that through its lack of engagement in rural Ireland and its lack of delivery of services. Twelve years on, we still are no closer to having nationwide roll-out of broadband. It is a matter of running cables along our electricity lines. We passed legislation to allow and enable the ESB to do that. The ESB has connectivity to every house. This is not rocket science in this day and age. I visit Bosnia and Herzegovina once a year. It is one of the poorest countries in the world but it has top-class broadband and top-quality water, which we do not have in this country.
I want to comment briefly on the climate strategy plans around carbon tax increases. This will be raised at Council level too. People know about this already. When reviewing some parliamentary questions I came across information from Revenue showing that since 2010, the State has taken in at least €2.8 billion in carbon taxes. This is not a new fandango or new issue that we have to deal with. The Government is not codding anybody. The people are aware of it because they feel it in their pockets. For impoverished people and those on low incomes, carbon tax increases will be crippling and cruel. Earlier today, I raised with the Taoiseach the issues arising for the freight and logistics sector, which is of huge importance to us in terms of connectivity with our European colleagues and all over the world. The industry has not been consulted on this new plan, invited to any discussions or offered any incentives to encourage reductions in its carbon generation activity. The Taoiseach's reply was that these companies can use smaller lorries. Who is he codding? On what planet is he living? This will result in more lorries on the roads. As I said earlier, batteries do not have sufficient power to operate trucks, tractors or combine harvesters. The Taoiseach needs to get real. Somebody needs to give him a pinch, although I am not suggesting the Minister of State, Deputy McEntee, should do it. He needs to wake up and come into the real world. He needs to understand what happens outside of the Pale, which is choked up, overpopulated and bursting at the seams. The Government needs to develop policies to support rural Ireland.
On my way into the Chamber I met the Minister of State, Deputy Canney. I support his proposals for the reactivation of the western corridor. We have to think outside of Dublin. The problem with this Government is that the top five Ministers, including the Taoiseach, the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Deputy Donohoe, the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Deputy Eoghan Murphy-----