Over a year ago, Environment Secretary Eamon Ryan received Cabinet approval to introduce legislation banning licenses for new oil and natural gas exploration.
Mr Ryan was also responsible for delays in decision-making on the long-awaited €650 million liquefied natural gas (LNG) project for the Shannon Estuary.
In addition, Ireland is the least prepared country in Europe for an energy crisis and the possibility of continuous blackouts throughout the winter. This will be a catastrophic scenario for industry and private energy consumers.
The government’s inability to be in the energy situation we are in now, which is likely to get worse, is incredible.
Aside from the Ukraine conflict, Ireland was headed for an energy crisis anyway. Our current generation assets (oil, gas and coal) are a patchwork of inefficient, ineffective and obsolete generation capacity. No new generation capacity has been added and what is in place is on its last legs.
We are 100 percent dependent on imported fossil fuels wherever we can get them.
Seventy-one per cent of Ireland’s natural gas comes from the UK via a single route, but this source of gas could be declining in the near future. A shortage of natural gas supplies in the UK would affect Ireland as gas imports from there would fall.
Ireland is the only country in the world that has recently stopped producing electricity from peat sources. The only viable source of domestic gas is the Corrib gas field as the Kinsale gas field is no longer viable.
So that puts Ireland in a position where we a) don’t have a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal; b) limited availability of biogas and biomass; and c) no nuclear power.
In terms of gas storage, Ireland is one of the least flexible countries to adapt to possible gas shortages in Europe. Half of the EU countries using existing nuclear energy infrastructure will have more to gain from the current energy crisis.
In addition, they will also be energy self-sufficient and not entirely dependent on fossil fuels.
France has the most operational nuclear reactors, followed by countries like Finland, Sweden, Belgium and Spain.
It is unfortunate that in 1978 Ireland did not follow the sound technical advice of Irish engineers and scientists and proceeded with the construction of a nuclear power station at Carnsore Point in Wexford.
Patrick L O’Brien, Co Cork
Major parties need to wake up when times change
Two political events – one in the recent past, one in the near future – suggest that the time has come for a major overhaul of Irish party politics.
This is a connection between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.
The recent joint collaboration on Béal na Bláth to commemorate Michael Collins and the forthcoming Fianna Fáil think-in – clearly showing the party asking “where to now?” – are important clues.
We saw thousands of decent, patriotic, tax-paying Irishmen at Béal na Bláth not only honoring a great man, but actually saying, to paraphrase Bob Dylan, “Times have changed”.
As for Fianna Fáil, it would be both a shame and a grave error of judgment to have only conflicting discussions about choosing a new leader.
The older heads in the party should remember the damage done by the various “Heaves” against Charles J. Haughey.
On the Fine Gael side, the party has a long history of absorbing or collaborating with other parties – in the early days there was the Farmers’ Party, then the National Center Party, later the Inter Party Government, which Éamon de Valera later formed from the Office pressed 16 years.
The economic difficulties faced by this country were made clear, with the two main problems being energy costs and the housing situation.
Indeed, as the recent Troy controversy reminds us, a cynic might well take the latter as a parable for our time.
Fianna Fáil has traditionally been a little too entrenched in the construction industry and as the housing crisis shows us, Fine Gael has not been sufficiently involved.
But there is another problem that may threaten this country the most – across the water, a leadership contest between the evil of two lesser is taking place within the Tory party.
Liz Truss, most likely to succeed, is clearly facing a winter of discontent on the business and union fronts as the Brexit catastrophe unfolds.
Likewise, her recipe for overcoming these challenges will clearly be to portray herself as Margaret Thatcher II.
With the protocol north of the border, she even has a Falkland Islands-style issue at hand that is causing Ireland serious concern on the trade and political fronts.
There is a wave of political change among the Irish people – and it is time for politicians, particularly those in Fianna Fáil, to heed that desire.
All this and the situation with Mr. Putin dictate that a rethink is in order – and quickly.
Tim Pat Coogan, Glenageary, County Dublin
The treatment of the forgotten generation is shameful
John Cuffe (“Our emigrants are gone, and many of them are forgotten”, Irish IndependentLetters, August 30), writing about the murder of Thomas O’Halloran, the 87-year-old Irish man who was recently stabbed to death in London, reminded me of my years in Britain in the 1950s and 1960s.
During those years in Britain I met many of my countrymen – many never returned home, not even for a holiday. They couldn’t afford it.
This generation of Irish, who sent money home every week, were betrayed by successive Irish governments as they grew old and experienced homelessness and loneliness.
Very few took root because they wanted to return home one day, but one day that never materialized.
Many worked on the “cardboard” and ended up without pensions. During the Celtic Tiger years, when the government of the time had an embarrassing abundance of wealth, politicians turned their backs on those who had kept this country afloat for decades. The government could and should have provided sheltered housing for the Irish emigrants in need.
Hundreds of thousands of newcomers to Ireland continue to receive safe haven and shelter, but not the Irish in Britain.
I think it’s a blemish on our record as a caring country. I am still bitter about how those unfortunate emigrants of the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s were treated – the forgotten Irish generation.
Tom Cooper, Castleknock, Dublin
What about the flood-affected refugees in Pakistan?
I wholeheartedly agree with Edward Horgan (“If the EU sends troops to Ukraine, Ireland should refuse”, Irish Independent, letters, August 30). Eamon de Valera’s neutrality served us well during World War II, and to deviate from it now in this proxy war between Russia and the United States would be a farce. Our housing for Ukrainian refugees is as far as we should go.
We see the situation in Pakistan where floods have killed over 1,100 people and 500,000 are in camps.
There is no movement to bring any of these refugees to Europe as the UK was responsible for establishing Pakistan when it was part of the Indian subcontinent.
In 1947, under pressure from Mahatma Gandhi, the British decided to leave India. As in Ireland, the British established a border between Pakistan (largely Muslim) and India (largely Hindu).
The process of division was not easy. India had 500 sovereign princely states ruled by local monarchs. During this upheaval and the emergence of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, a million “Indians” died.
We see British Prime Minister Boris Johnson going to Ukraine to collect awards. We see no British politicians visiting Bangladesh, the site of Mountbatten’s ‘Last Supper’.
Hugh Duffy, Cleggan, County Galway
Cross out the fine print and we’re protected by law
I got a letter in the mail this morning. I opened it up and put on my glasses for all the good it was doing me. It was from my bank and the print was so small I had to get a magnifying glass to read it.
So it’s time to introduce a law stating that “any document containing print or lettering less than 10 points in size has no legal validity whatsoever”.
That would protect us all.
Brendan Casserly, City of Cork
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/letters/when-it-comes-to-alternative-energy-generation-ireland-finds-itself-in-a-very-precarious-position-41957859.html When it comes to alternative energy production, Ireland is in a very precarious position