John Gormley announcing the introduction of the Environmental Pillar

Minister John Gormley’s speech in the Dáil, April 8th, 2009
Transcript of text.
The Green Party and our partners in government believe that the ‘smart economy’ is the ‘green economy’. And that green economy cannot prosper until such time as green thinking is fully integrated into the social partnership model. Today, I wish to announce that the commitment given in the Programme for Government for the introduction an environmental and sustainability pillar into social partnership is being acted upon. Henceforth environmental NGOs will participate fully in social partnership.
The fact that no such pillar existed during the boom years has been a grave oversight. It worked to the detriment of the economy as a whole. Social partnership has for the most part worked well and can continue to work if it is re-modelled in the longer term interests of our society and economy.
The environmental pillar will ensure that economic decisions have at their very core the concept of sustainability. If sustainability is not worked into economic decision making, then one has to question its longer term validity. If the environmental sector had been involved in social partnership we could have avoided the worst excesses of the Celtic Tiger when it comes to planning and transport.
Having the Green Party in Government will undoubtedly mean that many of these issues will now be addressed and that those difficulties can be ameliorated; but the Green Party involvement will result in these long term structural changes. And it is precisely this sort of structural change which will be our legacy.
Having an environmental pillar as part of social partnership will also mean that no one will question the wisdom and efficacy of a carbon levy. The Minister for Finance has given an unequivocal commitment that this carbon levy will be a major feature of the next Budget. Indeed, it is reasonable to say that the vast majority of Green Party taxation ideas will be implemented in the lifetime of this Government, going far beyond anything that was negotiated and contained in the Programme for Government.