“These are not normal times, and the people cannot wait until October for the budget to see a reduction in fuel costs.”
That was the main message Independent TD, Danny Healy-Rae, issued to the government during a Dáil debate earlier this week on EirGrid, Electricity and Turf Amendment Bill 2022.
During his address to the chamber, he discussed fuel sources, turf-cutting traditions, Bord na Mona’s closure and rising electricity prices.
He told the house: “There has been much talk about turf. We have it, and it is our own, but there is now a war in Europe threatening to be the third world war.”
“What have we done only closed Bord na Móna when we had the possibility of generating our own electricity. Every day since it closed, the cost of electricity has increased. Everybody in the country knows that.”
He said it is “very clear” that the government is “running scared” and is bringing forth this particular bull to “try to ensure we do not have blackouts”.
“The government has paid €450 million for gas generators, but where will it get the gas? It could get cornered with that because the ministers do not want to listen to anybody.”
He told the Dáil that he believes an opportunity lies in Co. Kerry and a “very worthwhile” company, has had a proposal in the offing for “many” years at Shannon LNG.
He suggested that here, we could source and bring in the gas from western countries that might be inclined to “sell it to us rather than dealing with others”.
“We had a proposal in the chamber a few weeks ago involving Barryroe, but that was shot down. This is despite the possibility of any amount of oil and gas being there.”
He argued that everybody he asks, whether in homes or business, will say the cost of electricity has increased every day since Bord na Móna’s closure.
Turf-cutting and planes
He continued: “We cut our own turf, and there has been much talk about turf. We have had seven generations cutting turf; I was the sixth generation, and my daughter and sons are at it now.”
“We will make no apologies to anyone for cutting the bit of turf and keeping our homes warm.”
“We are proud to do that. The people before us did it, and it is part of our culture. There are many other people like us who will continue to do it.”
“If we closed the entire country, the difference would amount to 0.013% of global emissions. We can see that Germany, China, Poland and many others have gone back to coal.”
“There is much talk about turf but no word about planes. People need planes but we need a discussion about them.”
“There were 200,000 people flying out of the country last weekend. We must have planes, but the government’s focus seems to be on turf.”
He argued that the current government is two years in office now, and “all it will be remembered for is increasing the carbon tax”.
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