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Election gives green political boost

Eamon Ryan, Ireland's new minister in charge of energy, is one of two Green Party members of parliament appointed to cabinet posts in June following the country's general election. Six Green Party candidates were elected and their support of the new government, formed by dominant political party Fianna Fail which won 78 seats, gives it a slender majority in the 166 seat Dail. Among the concessions secured by the Greens for joining the government were the two cabinet posts and pledges on a proposed carbon tax and tougher targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Ryan, the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, points out that Ireland's recently published Energy White Paper sets out an "ambitious but achievable" target of 20% energy savings by 2020, with one-third of energy coming from renewables. "These targets should be viewed as the start of our ambitions rather than their limits," he says.

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