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Leo lets us all down on climate change in effort to cosy up to Trump

15 Mar 2018

Friends of the Earth has accused Leo Varadkar of dropping a diplomatic clanger on climate change in his effort to cosy up to Trump.

While speaking publicly in the U.S. today, the Taoiseach said he was “happy to take credit” for the rejection of a planning application for a wind farm near Trump’s Doonbeg golf course following a phone call from Mr. Trump asking for Varadkar’s intervention as then Minster for Tourism.

Golf course in Washington State during forest fires in 2017 (CNN)Commenting, Oisin Coghlan, Director of Friends of the Earth said:

"I'm truly shocked by this. When Leo Varadkar said he wanted to talk to Donald Trump about climate change I did not think he meant 'taking credit' for a wind farm not being built near Trump's golf course in Clare.”

"Our Taoiseach should not be bonding with Trump over stopping wind farms when the US President is pulling the US out of the Paris Agreement and dismantling US efforts to move to cleaner energy.”

"Wind farms, like everything else, are subject to proper planning. But it's deeply disappointing to hear Leo Varadkar speak about protecting the landscape from windfarms when converting to 100% clean energy in his lifetime is essential to protecting human civilization from devastating climate change."

Dr. Cara Augustenborg, Chairperson of Friends of the Earth Europe and Head of Communications, explained further:

“While we trust the planning system and agree that the visual beauty of Ireland should be considered as part of the planning process, the Taoiseach boasting that he potentially blocked a renewable energy project on the basis of a U.S. Citizen’s lobbying is quite disturbing.”

Varadkar’s statement was made just weeks after he appeared in European Parliament to express disappointment with Ireland not meeting its emission reduction targets and argued he and his generation of Irish politicians were determined to take Ireland from climate laggard to climate leader. Moving to a fully renewable energy system is recognized as a key part of the transition Ireland has committed to make in its national and international commitments to climate action.

 

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