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Kelly commends GAA club who have invested in energy upgrades

Published: Fri, 08 March 2024

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Sean Kelly, MEP for Ireland South and Lead Negotiator for the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) for the European Parliament’s biggest political group, commends the Government’s progress in home energy upgrades and the Solar PV Scheme. However, he calls for intensified efforts to fully harness the benefits and accelerate the transition towards a sustainable energy future.

Reflecting on the government’s achievements, Kelly states, “Considering that we are spending about €1 million an hour paying for oil and gas, it is important that the Government’s commits to energy upgrades. Heating and cooling is a particular concern for Ireland, which is responsible for 24% of total national greenhouse gas emissions. It is positive that almost 48,000 home retrofits were recorded in 2023, a significant 76% increase from the previous year.”

“However, we need to keep this progress going and ensure that retrofitting supports and grants are easy to use for people. It is a good investment by the state to ensure our buildings consume less energy and rely on cheaper and greener renewable sources, building owners will also be insulated by oil and gas price hikes”, added Kelly.

Highlighting the positive impact on communities, Kelly emphasizes, “As a former President of the GAA, it is extremely encouraging to see GAA clubs taking energy upgrades seriously. Kildangan GAA Club, O’Loughlin Gaels GAA Club, and Drumree GAA Club have all reaped the rewards – warmer facilities, improved lighting, reduced energy bills, and a lower carbon footprint.”

While praising Budget 2024’s record funding of €430 million for SEAI residential and community energy upgrades, Kelly urges for an escalated push. “The €8 billion ring-fenced until 2030 signals commitment, but we need to ensure these funds translate into tangible benefits for all. Administration needs to be reduced wherever possible and focus needs to be put on ensuring we have sufficient amounts of skilled workers. Electricians in particular will be hugely important to this area going forward,” he asserts.

Expressing optimism about the Solar PV Scheme, Kelly notes, “With over 10,000 households supported by the end of 2022 and an additional 22,000 in 2023, the scheme is driving a rooftop revolution. It’s vital we capitalize on this momentum. At European level, I was happy to include provisions in legislation to boost the installations of solar technologies in households across Europe. It is a hugely important area that still has plenty of room for growth.”

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