premium seats | 

Taoiseach flew business class to New York despite hitting out at UN for ‘failure’ to act on climate change

Taoiseach Micheál Martin. Picture: Reuters© REUTERS


Taoiseach Micheál Martin has confirmed he was on a business class flight to New York despite criticising the UN Security Council for its failure to act on climate change.

He said Ireland has been “deeply frustrated” by the UN Security Council’s “failures” on climate change during his speech to the UN General Assembly in New York.

However, Mr Martin confirmed he and some of his staff were in business class while his press secretary travelled in economy class.

“I’m working flat out, back to back, 24/7 in terms of working prior to getting on the plane and working after getting on a plane and getting straight to work when I get to the other side,” Mr Martin said in New York.

“So I’m very clear on that.

“There’s other ways we can offset [carbon emissions].”

Mr Martin is the only Fianna Fáil member of Cabinet to use business class flights.

A recent study by the International Council on Clean Transport found premium seats can emit 2.6 to 4.3 times more CO2 per kilometre than a passenger in economy class, depending on the aircraft class.

The same research revealed premium seats (business and first class) are responsible for almost a fifth (19pc) of all emissions from the aviation industry.

Mr Martin used his speech at the General Assembly to hit out at the UN, hitting out at the Security Council’s “failure to act” and criticised the “lack of political will” by the UN to play its part on the impact climate change has on peace.

He has previously defended his use of business class flights, saying he works a “full day” before he gets on any plane.

“I’ll be very straight with you, I work a full day before I go on any plane. I work on the plane and I work when I get off the plane. Full on. That's what I should do. That is my obligation and that’s it,” he said this summer.

The Government was embroiled in controversy earlier this year after it emerged Fianna Fáil ministers flew economy while Green Party deputy leader Catherine Martin travelled in business class to attend the same conference in Dubai.

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