Clean Air And Water 'Fundamental Essentials' - Labour

Clean air and clean water are fundamental essentials to healthy, human life, Labour Party Spokesperson on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and the Arts, Joan Burton, has said.

Introducing a new Bill aimed at tackling the issue, Deputy Burton said: "The Labour Party motion tonight is to stress – not-with-standing that we are one of the most advanced countries in the world, as the Taoiseach would say we are third on the UN list of places to live and quality of life – yet we have neither clean air nor clean water, because of the refusal of this Government to actually implement a country wide smoky coal ban.

"The list of additional towns which are to be added to the smoky coal ban come next September accounts for over 156,000 people, however what about the people left behind? The people who live in towns like Dunboyne, in Aranmore, in Nenagh, and other such areas right across the country. That's some 356,592 people who are being denied the right to clean air.

"The Government has shown neglect in terms of its organisation of the Health Service, not-with-standing that yesterday we passed a budget allocation of €17bn, the highest figure ever. Yet the Government has within its own remit, if only it could find the courage, the power to actually cut the waiting figures at a stroke, by introducing clean air right across all the major towns and villages in this country.

"It is difficult to know why the Government is distinguishing, for example, between Enniscorthy with a population of 11,000, which will be covered by the clean air directive come next September, while leaving Gorey, with a population of just under 10,000, out. It doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t make sense in terms of all those children who are suffering from asthma, as well as older people who have suffered from asthma all their lives, and the many people who will suffer late age onset asthma in their 50s and 60s.

"Please can this Government take public health and public wellbeing seriously and implement the ban."


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