Seantor John McGahon has been named as the parties’ Seanad Spokesperson on Climate, Communications, Energy & Natural Resources. The Fine Gael politician who was elected to the Seanad at the start of April will focus on the work being done at the Department of Climate Action, Communications Networks and Transport, helmed by Minister Eamon Ryan and Super Junior Minister Hildegarde Naughton, who has special responsibility for Climate Action.
The former councillor says is is “really pleased” to have been offered the role by An Tanaiste Leo Varadkar. “It is a big brief with a lot of legislation that will need to be guided through the Seanad,” he said in a statement.
“Climate action is crucial to the future of our planet and to building the resilience of our homes, farms, schools and businesses. The Government are committed to taking the necessary steps on climate action, to cut our greenhouse gas emissions, which will help make our homes warmer, our air cleaner and our economy more sustainable.”
Senator McGahon also stated that Fine Gael are supporting the Climate Action Plan as part of the plan for government, favouring a ‘Green New Deal’. He said one of his first priorities in the Seanad will be to progress the early enactment of the Climate Action Bill. The new Bill will establish a 2050 emissions reduction target in law, as well as make the adoption of carbon budgets a legal requirement.
“Equally, as part of my Communications Brief, I really want to focus on a strategy for remote working and remote service delivery, taking advantage of the National Broadband Plan. The Covid era has shown us that remote working is the way forward and my brief will play a large part in ensuring that homes in urban and rural Ireland have the necessary tools to avail of it.”
Elsewhere, Fianna Fáil Senator Erin McGreehan has been named the parties’ Spokesperson on Children, Equality and Disabilities. “I welcome the commitments in the Programme for Government which will implement much greater fairness and accessibility for people with disabilities,” she said on Thursday.
“I also look forward to working in to progress the proposed legislation associated with the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (UNCRPD). I will be engaging with my Party colleague, Minister for State with responsibility for Disabilities, Anne Rabbitte TD, in the coming weeks to raise my concerns with her.”
The Senator said this week that there is much more to do in improving accessibility for people in communities around the country, and in Louth in particular.
“In my own county of Louth, I am often contacted by wheelchair users and people with disabilities who are limited in where they can visit in our town centres due to damaged or narrow footpaths, narrow doorways, and inaccessible amenities such as playgrounds, parks and other recreational areas.
“In North Louth, I understand nearly 15% of the population have some form of disability. That is 15% of our citizens who are limited in what they can enjoy in our towns. This should not and does not have to be this way.”