An early armistice in Ukraine would end the bloodshed – but not end the economic and financial war that is already underway.
rogue nuclear state in Eastern Europe, a totalitarian kleptocracy, will no longer be tolerated and threats to peace and security will be combated. Ireland, which along with other non-belligerents is a beneficiary of the settlement after the last European war, has an inescapable interest in this one. For a European country, there are no opt-outs and there can be no free riders.
Secretary of State Simon Coveney made it clear on Friday that the government would be tougher
The energy crisis will continue until the Western alliance ensures long-term regime change through the economic strangulation of Putin’s Russia.
The sanctions are unprecedented and will be tightened. This means higher energy costs and less security of oil and gas supply in Europe.
Any notion that Ireland can evade the column is politically unrealistic, aside from being morally dubious. There is no neutrality option once an economic war has been declared.
It is claimed that for every complex problem there is a simple solution – and this central tenet of populism has so far dominated the political debate over Ireland’s response to the crisis. Gasoline and diesel prices rising? Just lower fuel taxes. Higher monthly bills for gas and electricity? Just credit their accounts. Where do you get the money? Just borrow or tax the rich.
When the government refuses to grasp these shortcuts to universal applause, a ready explanation is offered: They’re out of touch and don’t care, drenched in a tsunami of whatabouts. What about the motorists, the humble families struggling to heat their homes, the truckers, the farmers? — all bruised and deserve instant relief?
RTÉ recently aired a Vox-Pop interviewing three people filling their tanks in the forecourt, one of whom was driving what appeared to be a new top-of-the-line Blitz engine. All three said they went nuts — which RTÉ presented as a news item.
Much of the print media coverage was equally bleak and the Dáil posts discouraging — snowflake demands that the country unilaterally compensates for more expensive imports.
The print and broadcast media need to get a grip.
Europe faces the threat of another recession, higher energy costs for the foreseeable future, a delay in reducing emissions and the prospect of energy rationing. Military neutrality means Ireland’s newfound arsenal of anti-tank missiles can be left in a shed in the Curragh — but there is no place to hide the national economy.
The governments of energy-importing countries are reacting vigorously and the policy pattern is clear. Demand for oil and gas needs to be curbed, and higher prices are part of the process. It is wishful thinking to pretend that any government can use borrowed money indefinitely to offset the impact.
There will also be non-price interventions which could include an EU policy that we all share the burden of cutting gas imports from Russia. It is a declared goal of the EU to reduce dependence on Russian gas (currently 40 percent of total consumption) by two-thirds within a year and then to zero as quickly as possible.
This will have consequences, including for countries that do not directly import Russian gas.
There is a global market for crude oil and refined products facilitated by sea tanker trading, and supply will be available at a price.
With natural gas, things are not so simple. Ireland has gas import pipelines only from Scotland and has declined to equip itself with liquefied natural gas (LNG) import facilities. The island of Britain has left the European Union’s internal market, and it’s no consolation that Scotland’s gas (70 per cent of Ireland’s needs) comes almost entirely from the North Sea and Norway.
Norway is not a member of the EU but is part of the single market, a Brexit option that was available to Britain but not pursued. Norway sells gas to the UK but also has an extensive pipeline network to Sweden, Denmark and Germany. A new Baltic pipeline to Poland will be commissioned later this year.
Ireland shares a common gas network, both parts of the island are in the internal market and import gas through non-member UK. What happens if Norwegian gas is redistributed under an EU burden-sharing scheme? Ireland has no gas pipeline to any EU country and it is highly unlikely that it would ever be economical to build one.
The decision to prevent the construction of an LNG terminal in the Shannon Estuary over a decade ago doesn’t look too wise from this distance. There is a live proposal to build one and it needs to be checked on its merits.
The federal government has announced two new LNG plants; there has been an onslaught of orders to shipyards, mainly in Korea, building LNG tankers; and there is renewed support for gas exploration in European waters, including the North Sea and the Adriatic.
Green Party leader Eamon Ryan has acknowledged that gas will be part of Ireland’s energy mix in the long term. I don’t want to be the Irish minister at a European Council meeting in a few months’ time, explaining Ireland’s staunch support for sanctions on Russia alongside our principled opposition to gas supply diversification.
Security of electricity also benefits from interconnection – but again, our existing links with the UK exist. A new interconnector to France is planned and is unfortunately being held up in the planning process. There are objections to the onshore facility in East Cork. There are also nationwide objections to onshore wind farms and the masts to be erected to connect them to the grid.
If onshore wind is the cheapest renewable option, it is fair to question the sincerity of those who are promoting offshore systems without detailed costing and declaring Ireland the “Saudi Arabia of Winds”. Responding to Vladimir Putin means facing some uncomfortable situations energy policy decisions.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/we-cant-back-sanctions-on-vladimir-putin-and-then-expect-cheap-petrol-at-the-same-time-41466377.html We cannot support sanctions against Vladimir Putin and at the same time expect cheap petrol