As a kid, I never understood that old adage: ‘You can’t have your cake and eat it.’ As an adult – with Boris Johnson’s Brexit lies ringing in my ears – I dislike them even more as a hackneyed maxim.
etter by far the Old French proverb: “You can’t have the goat and the cabbage.” In Moliere’s language, it alliterates: Cabbage is chou – goat is chevre.
Striking French rural realism says you can tie and fence this goat as many times as you like. Your cabbage will get it sooner or later – so it’s best to make your decision early.
Well, all who belong to me, on both sides, are compatriots, and my default setting is to listen to the concerns of rural communities. However, it’s time to face a simple fact: Turf isn’t a fuel.
What we need to do now is stop the chatter and agree to plans to take care of the minority of people dependent on Revier if we phase them out quickly.
Since I’ve started on the “dark secret” of my recent country ancestors, let’s quickly lay another revelation on the table. From 2007 to 2011 I was press spokesman for the Greens in the government.
Three quick extra points here. First of all, don’t remind me how that ended. Second, Mr. Ryan wasn’t my favorite green. Third, I’ve learned a lot from the Greens, but I’ve never bought the whole package, and I retain a strong ability to criticize some of what they do.
Last week I castigated her for what I always believe to be her wrong attitude on an overdue Limerick-Cork motorway.
But this lazy characterization of Mr Ryan and the Green Party as urban and anti-rural is a time-wasting cliché that militates against genuine debate to help us confront the real issues.
And here’s a simple reality: Eamon Ryan is no South Dublin yeah yeah. Like me, his entire family hails from rural South West Ireland, in Tipperary, West Limerick and North West Cork.
In his earlier life, as an organizer of cycle tours, he got to know the entire west coast and its social and economic conditions.
Furthermore, the clichéd image of the countryman or countrywoman who, with the sleán on the bike’s handlebars, goes to the moors to look for winter fuel with like-minded neighbors doing a meitheal has long since outlived technology and other rural facts of everyday life .
We are a fair distance from de Valera’s Ireland, where these pretty girls would have been far too exhausted from turf harvesting to dance at any crossroads.
Today’s reality of lawn harvesting is contractors using machines with real environmental consequences. Granted, the impact of machines like The Pig is only a fraction of what Bord na Móna has done across much of central Ireland over many decades.
And no, I’m not advocating a return to the breakneck drudgery of hand-laid turf, where every single sod between Sleán and Fire has been treated at least eight times.
But time flies and we learned a lot about the environment.
It goes without saying that the forthcoming changes must uphold the rights of those who still have road rights and reaffirm those who still rely solely on the turf for fuel. Mr. Ryan is sincere in his intention that turf can continue to be harvested for individual use and that local supply can continue.
This certainly poses significant practical difficulties and offers many opportunities for opposition politicians looking to capitalize on the recent crux.
The political reality is that rural independents can now do well and unsettle their local rivals in the backbenches of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael – and in Cabinet.
This is a time when government politicians must stand firm and work to refine and explain transitional arrangements.
It may seem easier to compete and play in front of the local gallery in competition with independents who have nothing to lose and Sinn Féin for whom this is just another convenient move.
But this one can only end one way, with the death of mowing. Most of us agree – and our children and grandchildren reinforce the message – that our planet is burning and we must
quickly switch to other methods.
And that includes saying “Oíche Mhaith le cúrsaí móine,” painful as that may be.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/time-to-stop-demonising-the-greens-and-regretfully-accept-the-end-of-turf-41591097.html Time to stop demonizing the Greens and regret the end of the precinct