The Dáil has passed legislation to divest public spending from coal, oil, and gas investment schemes. The move will see the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund, part of the National Treasury Management Agency, halt any investment of the €8 billion fund into fossil fuels.
The Fossil Fuel Divestment Bill aims to force the National Treasury Management Agency to sell off stakes in fossil fuel companies. Put forward by Independent TD Thomas Pringle, it was defeated by 90 votes to 53 on 27 January 2017.
When it is implemented, the bill will make Ireland the first country to do so. In 2015, Norway’s sovereign pension fund divested from a number of fossil fuel investments, but not all.
It could take up to five years to fully divest, this is also subject to review by the Finance Committee before it will be fully enacted.
When it reached the second stage earlier this month, Deputy Pringle had acknowledged that semi-state companies would no longer receive investment unless it was amended at committee stage to allow funding for 100% renewable energy products.
Late last year, Trinity College Dublin became the first university in Ireland to divest funds in a similar move. It decided to sell off all investments in companies whose main business was the extraction of fossil fuels. The amount totalled €6.1 million indirectly invested into such companies.