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Snippet Contents:

We have long recognised that energy efficiency measures in both the public and private sectors have the potential to generate jobs and to help Ireland meet its climate change targets. Ireland has challenging CO2 and energy saving targets to meet between now and 2020. The Government’s national energy efficiency action plan sets out the measures necessary to deliver the national 20% energy saving target. One of the key measures is the retrofitting of existing buildings to achieve energy savings. The targets in this area imply upgrading the energy performance of 100,000 houses per annum and reducing the energy consumption in the public sector by 33%. These are challenging targets, but they are also great opportunities. The Government has taken measures to stimulate economic activity and unlock the untapped potential of the public sector in this area. I have agreed to allocate €9 million to improve the energy consumption of central Government buildings between now and 2015.
Furthermore, to place the retrofit industry on a sustainable footing, the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources has been working closely with the private sector to create an energy efficiency fund. Good progress has been made by the Minister, Deputy Rabbitte, on exploring private funding participants' interest, but as a sign of the Government’s intent, I have agreed to provide €35 million as seed capital for this fund, with a view to establishing a leveraged fund of €70 million.
Energy retrofitting is labour intensive and provides job opportunities for our hard-pressed construction sector. We have companies in Ireland which supply much of the material for these works, so jobs will be secured and created at home by these measures. The Minister, Deputy Rabbitte, will announce details in due course.
Current Expenditure
We all know we must reduce public expenditure. Our current levels of expenditure are no more sustainable than the property bubble that once sustained them. There is no point in trying to pretend otherwise. We must be strategic, however, in how we do this. We are not going to slash and burn essential public services to satisfy particular interests, or in response to sensationalist headlines.