Eamon Ryan has said TDs attacking him in the Dáil are more interested in TikTok likes than legislation.
The Green Party leader there is a “lot of language and a lot of lines” thrown about in the Dáil chamber – and he believes a lot of it is driven by social media.
“I mean, I’ve heard all sorts of stuff in the chamber recently and it is not great but I think it is, in some ways, driven by social media,” he said.
“I think there is a kind of impetus to get the TikTok video out and get the numbers viewed up.
“I’m not too sure that, in the long run, is the sort of politics we need.”
Minister Ryan has come in for particular criticism from rural politicians in recent months – but he insisted he remains good friends with many of them.
“I am in a strange situation because I was next-door neighbours with Michael Collins and Danny Healy Rae in the last Dáil,” he said. “I get on very well with them – I do.
“So, I kind of tend to be respectful of that friendship that goes back.
“Now in the chamber, you get a lot of language and a lot of lines. I sometimes wonder, is that for social media rather than for me? I think that can be the case but at all times I try to be respectful in my approach because, if you’re not respectful to them, then you are not respectful of the people who voted for them.
“I prefer to be respectful of them and their voters.”
Minister Ryan said the green agenda is taking hold not just across Europe but across the world – and he is working to bring parties along with it in a ‘collegiate and respectful way’.
“The whole world is going green at the moment,” he said.
“You heard Ursula von der Leyen when she spoke to the Oireachtas – what did she say? Our agenda is a green one. That is the green economic strategy for Europe. A Green New Deal.
“So, we are determining and setting and defining what happens in this time – because we have to.
“The world is burning as we speak and it has lost half its wildlife in the last 30 or 40 years, so this is the defining issue of our time and this informs and directs politics in our time.”
“It is not like we are [getting] one over on another party or [playing] the game of politics.”
Climate Action Plan
Minister Ryan was speaking after the Government published its new Climate Action Plan.
The plan aims to cut car journeys by one-fifth and the national herd by 10% by 2030.