Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has accused Fine Gael of being in thrall to oil and gas companies.
The Ireland South MEP was speaking after Fine Gael MEPs not only supported the creation of an investment fund for the private sector but proposed an amendment that saw fossil fuel companies added to it.
“Fine Gael voted in favour of giving €15 billion to an investment fund known as InvestEU,” she said.
“The InvestEU fund will offer loans and guarantees to private companies in order to incentivize them to invest in certain projects. We have seen this many times before and it always leads to the public shouldering all of the risk and the private sector keeping all of the profits. This type of fund facilitates privatization.
“Not only did Fine Gael vote in favour of the fund, Seán Kelly, Fine Gael MEP for Ireland South, submitted an amendment supporting the inclusion of fossil-fuel companies as beneficiaries, which passed.
“This clearly demonstrates how Fine Gael pay lip service to environmental issues for political expediency. They are happy to burden taxpayers with a regressive carbon tax while pushing for oil and gas companies to get subsidies.
“While those in the pockets of big business on the right see an investment gap, where market forces have not provided the necessary development, I see a gap in political will and political vision.
“Market forces will never provide rural areas with high quality broadband. It will not give us a modern public transport network outside of the biggest cities. It will certainly never make the transition from hydrocarbons to renewables fast enough.
“We desperately need public investment on a grand scale if we are to transition to renewable energy. Instead, we are given an investment fund that will subsidise the oil and gas industry.”