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Minister Denis Naughten, T.D. on the publication of “The State of Our Environment” Report by the Environmental Protection Agency

Minister Naughten said: “This Report is an important means of benchmarking in real terms Ireland’s progress in tackling the many environmental challenges we face, and I am pleased that there are many positive developments to report. For example, the news that Ireland now leads Europe in waste recycling with a tenfold increase in recycling since 1996. This demonstrates what we are capable of achieving in this country when we tackle major challenges head on, working together with business and communities. In recognising that climate change is one of the key environmental challenges that we face both nationally and globally, the report correctly identifies the scale of the transformation required if Ireland is to move to a low carbon economy and if society is to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change. It also acknowledges that the national legislative and policy framework is in place to help advance actions on climate change mitigation and adaptation.”

Minister Naughten continued: “I particularly welcome Ms Laura Burke’s statement that ‘The fossil age is over’ and I believe that this principle must be at the core of future Government environmental policy. The principle of sustainability must be ingrained into all Government policy formation and I am committed to ensuring that this is the case. Sustainability should not be regarded as a barrier to progress, or as a “cost”, but instead seen as an essential element of progress with many potential benefits in terms of environment, health and job creation.”
Minister Naughten concluded: “This Report is mainly positive but it also highlights that there is still a lot of work to be done in a number of areas, so we cannot stand still. I am committed as Minister with primary responsibility for environment policy, to ensure that the sustainability of our environment remains at the heart of the Government’s collective decision making and I look forward to considering the detail of the EPA report over the coming period, having regard particularly to ongoing development work in relation to national environmental policy.”