There can hardly be any doubt about the transport minister Eamon RyanCompany’s integrity, perseverance and genuine concern for the environment.
However, a problem has arisen recently. In the face of our current unprecedented energy security dilemma and extraordinary fuel price hikes, his rigidity and refusal to break away from long-held Green Party dogma exacerbates our vulnerability and further diminishes the government’s ability to convince people of the need for the actions outlined in the Climate Action Plan.
For example, Mr Ryan’s objection to the long-proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal at Shannon to make up for Ireland’s total lack of gas storage is bizarre and, to many, unforgivable.
Contrast this with its green counterparts in Europe, who are making pragmatic efforts to build LNG plants as quickly as possible.
Along with the Greens and the extreme left, he was instrumental in unnecessarily halting oil and gas exploration off our shores in 2019 and further increasing our vulnerability.
Given his belated realization that natural gas will be needed as a backup for intermittent renewables for decades to come, even he and the government must now recognize that that decision was both foolish and grossly irresponsible.
Mr Ryan’s refusal to initiate or encourage even a discussion about the possibility of small nuclear reactors is equally seen as bizarre.
Representatives of the offshore wind industry are increasingly frustrated by the mountain of bureaucracy and delays in planning issues.
The overly ambitious climate plan is now seen by many environmental experts as unattainable and a guide to underperformance, cementing our reputation as a climate laggard.
Our national energy policy and security are too serious to be dictated by dogma and political expediency.
As recognized by the extremely efficient and successful Norwegians, energy policy should be the sole domain of a statutory independent body, driven by the national interest, away from short-term and circumstantial political interference.
John Leahy, Wilton Road, Cork
How far will we go to protect freedom of expression?
THE potential purchase of Twitter by Elon Musk with the stated goal of enhancing freedom of expression is noble intention, but is freedom of expression that easy to protect?
There have been many concerns about the former US President’s use or abuse of Twitter donald trump and others, and Trump’s ban ends the problem. However, it is in itself a violation of freedom of expression.
Social media in its various forms offers a great opportunity for people to express their opinions. The concern is that some of the views are not suitable for publication. So the question is who decides, or should anyone decide? There are some materials that should be removed from the Internet that generally fall into the hands of law enforcement.
The quote “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend your right to say it to the death” from Evelyn Beatrice Hall’s Voltaire biography comes from a time long before social media became so ubiquitous.
Would so many now be willing to die for something they reject?
Dennis Fitzgerald, Melbourne, Australia
MPs are a far rarer breed than their Irish counterparts
ARE British MPs superior to our TDs? With a UK population of approximately 67.5 million, Westminster has 650 MPs (roughly one per 100,000 people).
With a population of about five million people, we have 160 TDs (about one per 31,500 people). We are now being told that we need another 10 because of our growing population.
Eamon Ward, Co. Wexford
A prayer for peace in this sacred time of renewal
THIS Easter is something very special. After three years we can again pray together in our different places of worship. May I suggest that we all say a special prayer to the God we worship for an end to this insane, evil war? There’s no harm in praying.
Brian McDevitt, Glenties, Co Donegal
Don’t trust a Russian trained in the old Soviet way
In 1982, as a geology student, I had to write a paper on the geotectonics of Iceland. One research project stood out.
It was in Russian and had brilliantly described and analyzed the geology of Iceland. However, I was surprised when I read the conclusions.
After a highly analytical study of the geology, the paper concluded without the slightest evidence that Iceland lies on the former site of the mythical Atlantis, which mysteriously sank to the seabed and gave birth to the volcanic edifice Iceland today.
I consulted my academic supervisor and explained my complete confusion. He noted that plate tectonics was a western theory that had been denounced by the Soviets.
He suggested that the Russian researchers may have assumed plate tectonics, hence the quality of their analysis, but could not write conclusions that would agree with the theory. So they’d concocted a comically absurd set of conclusions as a veiled, harsh rebuke from their superiors.
Today it reminds me that not only did criminals and liars succeed by any measure in the Soviet Union, but that Russians trained in Soviet ways should never be trusted.
Russians cling to the notion of empire and speak of a desire to fight for and protect their proud culture and heritage, ignoring the fact that most endure a life without real freedom, and more often a life of servitude drudgery swept by poverty, brutality, alcoholism and untimely death.
This is the true legacy that unites the autocratic regimes of the Romanovs, the Soviets and now this presumptive Tsar Putin.
R. Healy, Mullagh, Co. Cavan
Beware the anger of an overly patient CMO
It doesn’t surprise me that chief physician Dr Tony Holohan has decided not to continue his secondment to Trinity College. I applaud him for this decision, although after all he has put through our path, the health of the country could suffer significantly from the loss of his expertise.
After a very trying and tumultuous few years, in which they have never shied away from the blizzard of challenges plaguing the nation’s health, it is not surprising that the recent controversy may have “put the tin hat on”.
While I wouldn’t dare question the man fighting Covid, it takes a lot of convincing that his departure from public service in July, he says, is “particularly” to avoid the further distraction that the role could cause for top politicians and officials. More of a case of “beware the anger of a patient man” in my view.
Michael Gannon, St Thomas Square, Kilkenny
job seeker dr Holohan is getting ready to update his resume
THE controversy surrounding Dr. Tony Holohan’s possible new role at TCD reminded me that I was once asked during an interview, “And what are you going to do if you don’t secure this position?” I replied (reasonably), “I think I need to get one look for another job”. I had to later.
Tom Gilsenan, Beaumont, Dublin 9
Gentlemen, get your health checked and enjoy life
AFTER I just read Tom Dunne’s article in the Irish Independent April 11th, like him, can I ask the men to take care of their health? Four weeks ago I had a slight tightness in my chest with mild indigestion. Nothing really important, I thought.
But with a little suggestion from my local pharmacist, I decided to have a hospital check. I am home now recovering from a quadruple bypass. I will be 70 in July but I am a non-smoker and although I do drink some alcohol I am an active hiker with a good lifestyle.
Not an obvious candidate for heart surgery, but – boom! – it hit me. My recovery will be slow, but there is no alternative. So guys get checked out now and enjoy life
Donough O’Reilly, Kilmacud, Co Dublin
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/letters/energy-emergency-is-too-serious-to-be-tackled-with-dogma-mr-ryan-we-need-a-third-party-41557849.html The energy emergency is too serious to be dogged, Mr Ryan – we need a third party