Greens to Seek Carbon Tax in new Programme for Government

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Greens put Coalition on line over fuel taxes

Irish Independant

By Michael Brennan

A RAFT of new environmental taxes -- including increases in the price of petrol and diesel -- are now essential for the Green Party to stay in Government.

The party is determined to "flex its muscles" to get a carbon tax from Taoiseach Brian Cowen to tackle climate change.

The carbon tax, which Green Party leader John Gormley has insisted will be in this December's Budget, is expected to push up petrol and diesel prices next year.

It could also spark price increases in other fossil-fuel products such as home heating oil, electricity and gas.

The demands will be politically controversial, given the level of tax increases imposed in the last two Budgets.

But the Greens, still smarting from the June elections bloodbath, will warn Mr Cowen that unless there are "green fingerprints" all over the renegotiated Programme for Government, there is a real risk its members will vote to abandon coalition at their convention in October.

Green members are also demanding that the party leadership gets "social justice" guarantees so that the most vulnerable are protected from An Bord Snip Nua's recommendations to cut social welfare rates and slash 2,000 special needs assistants,

Not getting the required two-thirds majority at the October convention would place a major question mark over the party's future participation in the Government.

Leader John Gormley said there would be a climate change bill in the renegotiated Programme for Government. "There's no question about it, it is going to change as a result of those negotiations, make no mistake about it," he said.

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Climate Change