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Snippet Contents:

Any rational assessment of Dublin that is done by the end of July will look at how it matches up to the competing cities. I am sorry to say we do not have the public transport and housing infrastructure in place. I hate to say this about my own city. This supports the case for such investments to be made. This is not about Dublin versus rural Ireland. The European Medicines Agency and the European Banking Authority are not going to move to remote areas. They are going to relocate close to an international airport. If we are to get those sorts of agencies to come here, we need to invest in Dublin.
I would like to speak about the most important issue of enhanced security co-operation. I was particularly concerned to hear the Taoiseach say in his speech that when this issue was discussed, it was agreed to invite the European Investment Bank, EIB, to consider its role in investing in the munitions and armaments industry. There had been rumours in this regard, but it was deeply concerning to hear it mentioned in the Taoiseach's official report on this meeting. I have multiple concerns in this regard. The EIB raises a lot of funds when it sells its ethical bonds on the international markets. All of them will have to go if the EIB decides to invest into the armaments industry. Such a move would completely change the character of the bank and its business model. Such a move would be utterly wrong from an ethical perspective. It was interesting to hear the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment making the point today at the National Economic Dialogue that the Brexit bill will possibly be €300 million over a three-year period. He made the valid point that the climate bill we are facing from Europe as a result of our failure to meet our targets is ten times greater than that. It has the potential to reach €6 billion.
I think the EIB has a critical role to play in investing in the transformation of our economy that we need to make. We do not need it to invest in armaments as an alternative which would draw funding away from the climate action we need to take. Last week, I attended an event in the Oireachtas audiovisual room at which it was pointed out that the EU currently spends €1 billion a day on imported fossil fuels. The vast majority of that €1 billion a day is going to Saudi Arabia and Russia. I believe the EU's peace and security strategy should involve using the EIB to invest in the switch to clean energy alternatives. This would ensure we do not continue to give €1 billion a day to Saudi Arabia to buy American weapons to be fired into Yemen. This is a basic key tactical and strategic issue. Are we in favour of the EIB investing in armaments? I would be very keen to hear the Minister of State's response to that question in her reply. I think we should express our outright opposition to such a development. We should see the bank as an investment bank for the transition to a more secure future in which we invest in our own people and jobs, as well as in climate and economic security, instead of giving €1 billion a day to Russia and Saudi Arabia. This is the thin end of a very worrying wedge. Ireland's involvement in and support for the increased militarisation of Europe is wrong and we oppose it. What did this country's representatives say in response to the proposal to turn the EIB into an armaments-lending bank?