The time is now for Minister Ryan to accept crucial amendments to end the runaway expansion of the Gas Network

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On Tuesday 20th February, the Government’s Gas (Amendment) Bill 2023 will progress to the Committee Stage in the Seanad. Friends of the Earth is urging Minister Ryan to prioritise aligning the Bill with Ireland's climate commitments by accepting crucial amendments.

The call comes amid growing concerns about fossil fuel expansion, particularly of the gas network. In the past year concerns were raised across Government and opposition parties on the need to reform public bodies so that their legal mandates align with the transition away from fossil fuels. 

David Rossiter, Fossil Free Campaigner with Friends of the Earth, said

“In November last year, the Green Party put forward progressive amendments on precisely these issues at the Committee Stage in the Dáil thanks to work from Green Party backbenchers. However, not only did the Green Party refuse to table them at the subsequent stage, but the Government actively voted against these same amendments when raised by opposition TDs.

"Friends of the Earth has major concerns that the Minister is now going to reject progressive amendments in the Seanad. The latest proposals, put forward by Senators Lynn Boylan, Paul Gavan, Fintan Warfield and Alice Mary Higgins, aim to align the Gas Bill with the Climate Act and steer GNI away from promoting the continuous use of fossil methane gas.

“This aligns with what the Minister stated during the joint Oireachtas Committee on Environment and Climate Action meeting on November 30th. Minister Ryan said 'On GNI...The future will not be providing fossil gas to an ever-expanding network of customers or users...There is no big future expansion in gas use there.'"

Rossiter added

"Moreover, the amendments clarify that while GNI will continue to have functions related to gas connections, it does not imply an obligation to seek further gas connections actively. By accepting these amendments, Minister Ryan can demonstrate Ireland's leadership in preventing further fossil fuel expansion.”

“We at Friends of the Earth urge the Minister to prioritise the long-term health and prosperity of our planet and future generations by accepting opposition amendments to the Gas (Amendment) Bill 2023 that align with Ireland's climate obligations.”