Trying to make sense of the nonsense.

There are times in life when things make no sense. 
No matter what angle we approach a ball from we can not see the other side unless we have a mirror or someone is telling us what they see there. 
The problem with having a mirror is that we have to reverse the reflection and the problem with relying on a person is that we have to already know to trust them. 
So, our present ‘Political System’, is a bit like a ball, we see the side we are shown and it’s left up to us to figure out what’s on the far side! 
Like all balls our Political system is a sphere, there’s an upside and a downside, an inside and an outside, a front side and a backside and not all sides are visible at the same time so what do we do? 
This is where conversation and communication are vital, this is where community spirit and local chat over the cup of tea makes a difference. You see what you see, I see what I see and between us all we can get a more ’rounded’ view of what’s happening. Lets’s face it, even the people ‘in the know’ don’t know anymore and are reluctant to inform us of their own ignorance! 
We approach our local Political representatives and they wait for an ‘ear’ within their party, who waits for a timely manner in which to bring a matter before a committee and it’s all wheels within wheels, like hamsters in a ball, and we are re-assured that ‘wheels are in motion’ and told to wait for the right time, and we do because matters matter and we don’t want to be the cause of not getting a fair hearing. 
By nature we Irish are reluctant to confront authority, and when you look at our history it’s no wonder we are. We cling on to our inherited beliefs of fairness and honour and applaud our hero’s of the 1920’s and hope to God another one will appear for us and march us to safety. Consider this idea … Our Grandparents fought for our independence, not to be subservient, the sovereignty they fought for was relinquished when we joined the European Union. This is a fact, most of us don’t like it but it’s the reality that we live in and it could be our saving grace if we learn how to use it … in the same way the small parish on the peninsula had to appeal to Dublin years ago, now we have to appeal to Europe. 
Ireland is now that small parish on the peninsula, we are that little island off the mainland and we need to behave like islanders and we need to listen and talk and share our grievances at the corruption that is blinding us. 
The small island on the edge of Europe, with a penchant for the mystical and a bit of divelment, we love our craic and our welcomes are second to none, all around the world we are known for being friendly and trustworthy so why do we accept our current Political representatives, they are misrepresenting us, mocking us, giving us a bad name and making us look like gangster eejits. I was chatting with a neighbouring family a while ago and the phrase ‘Super Capitalist’ came up, it’s not a phrase I’d heard before in a conversation in front of the fire, and dots started to join up … Super Capitalists hide behind Multi-Corporations and can use Government backed ventures to make money. It’s all so outrageous and a few months ago it was beyond my comprehension but I’ve had a baptism of politics recently and I’ve learned loads.
These ‘ventures’ happen in business all the time, keep the company looking like it’s struggling to pay back a loan in order for the business to stay afloat. Tax returns and year end reports are deceiving, but ‘It’s all legal’ and never brings attention to itself and at the end of the day, it goes unchallenged. We didn’t borrow this ‘bail-out’ money that we are paying back, developers did. No one has been brought to court over it, the ‘blame’ is laid thinly and veiled over different people so that no one person or group can be held accountable and our political system goes along with it … wheels within wheels.
Are these the same developers that are behind ‘Eirgrid’? 

But someone (we) need to start a new game, someone (we) need to sort out the rules and if the local bully boy club won’t play fairly then we need to go above them and make demands. 
Over the past few months I have witnessed some great and inspiring changes in Ireland and more in my local community. I have been privy to conversations and present at meetings where people have gone to all sorts of lengths to attend. The internet has played a huge role in the sharing of facts and reports and connecting people but the people themselves have left their home fires on cold nights and turned out for meetings. Not to hear what our reluctant political representatives are saying but to meet each other there. 
It is a fact that Irish people are outraged over this proposed ‘Grid Link’ power project plan.
It is a fact that European guidelines, policies and proper procedures are being ignored. 
This ‘Grid Link’ is not needed. 

Yesterday I read “Ireland’s Communications and Energy Minister Pat Rabbitte, TD, has launched a public consultation on reducing emissions from the electricity sector by 2050.
According to his department, emissions from electricity generation amount to nearly 21pc of Ireland’s total national emissions, or some 11.5m tonnes of carbon dioxide”.

Which means that over 79% of carbon emissions are caused by other factors yet our boys want to tackle the smaller numbers and rip through the country to feed this ‘PowerGrid’ and send the power oversees for profit.
Meanwhile we’re left with a MASSIVE pathway wrenched through the countryside full of pylons and wind turbines beside our homes and schools and it still leaves us with 79% of our carbon emissions going unchallenged?

I met with Senator Denis Landy last Friday morning, he’s local and has an office close to where I live. I was curious as to what I might hear but not prepared for the style of interaction I had with him. 
He has an ‘clinic’ (I think that’s what it’s called) and people can make appointments to meet him, so I did. I asked what his views were on this whole project and he told me a story …  
“Back in 2008 I was sitting in the car at the traffic lights out there” he pointed to the window “and a news report came on the radio saying that Ireland may not have enough electricity to last the next 24 hours, that was in the ‘boom’ and today we use 20% less electricity than we did during the boom times”  
He went on to say that “This project gets us ready for when the boom comes again”

How’s that for a plan?

(bejaysus and begorraha sure paddy how’s your leprechaun doin today we don’t need a feasibility assessment at all sure and we know that an environmental impact study would say we are great men. Aarhus Convention? not at all, we’ll meet up at your house instead.) Inside the door to Senator Landy’s ‘clinic’ is a large office desk, the secretary sits with her back to the wall and has one of those keyboards that clickety-clicks non stop as you try to have a conversation with the Senator while he’s seated at the end of the desk and you’re opposite the secretary. It’s all very strange, there are self promoting photo collages covering the walls and the door leads straight out onto the street, anyone can walk in at any time.
His mobile phone doesn’t stop beeping and at the end of 10 minutes and in the middle of a conversation his phone rings and he takes the call thanking me for my concerns about a local hydro project and if he gets a chance he’ll look into the matter. I’m not holding my breath, especially since he was one of the Senators who abstained from voting in the Seanad on this Grid Link project. He could have made a difference, he, for whatever reason, chose to abstain. 
On Friday last I attended another ‘Grid Link’ meeting. Organised by some other local political representatives, local newspaper journalist and a photographer oh, and another Senator on his way home to Kerry.  
Like other people who attended I thought I might learn some new information. I did, but not from the politicians who were there two weeks before the submission date to state their disappointment at the poor turn out!  
Two weeks before submission dates the politicians rally and get a little ‘miffed’ at the lack of support from the community! 
Hey … you reap what you sow and if people are not there to support you at a meeting but have been up the mountain a week earlier, in the cold rain, in there hundreds then something’s amiss and it’s not the support of the people. 
While attending the meeting (I’m new to all this) I learned how people interact with political public reps. There is a certain order of commentary that is made, the public rep is commended for their interest and for organising the meeting, others are praised for their attendance and then the person makes whatever comment they want to make. 
I learned that people are afraid to upset the local politician.
The Kerry Senator had a go at the local Senator, The local political reps had a go at each other and then they praised each other for being able to get along on this important matter (two weeks before submission date). One rep turned out in an up-turned shirt collar wearing a jacket that looked like he’d slept in it for days, the shoes (*face palm, dear God, if I left any of my kids go to school with that amount of house dust on their shoes I’d be mortified) We were told the importance of bats along with lots of other ‘one last things’, I think barn owls got a mention too, oh, and “if you ‘google it’ I’m sure you’ll find out about some unusual plants”.
Very worthy causes but there are hundreds of thousands of families, farms, schools, small business’s who will have to live under and with these pylons, hydro turbines and wind farms.
We are an independent people with a right to our freedoms and the opportunity to make decisions for ourselves. We have the right to live in a safe environment and not be living in fear of our own Government.
We have a right to a leadership we can trust to support us not use us for self gain and profit.What’s proposed for Ireland will be detrimental to her land and the welfare of ALL her people for the rest of our lives.  SAY NO TO 'GREED ENERGY'

SAY ‘NO’ TO GREED ENERGY and join up with your communities. 
This is not a political campaign for votes, it’s far more powerful than that! 
Perhaps this is the final straw that has broken the backs of the Irish people as the outrage can be heard all over the island. I am delighted to be able to add my own voice to it … c’mon and join the change. Sign the petition and add your own voice, no matter where in the world you are.   
If you visit the people behind ‘Rethink Pylons’ and ‘Comeraghs against pylon’ group on facebook you’ll find lots more information there, a fantastic community of everyday people who are not afraid and are proving to be an inspiration to us all.   

5 thoughts on “Trying to make sense of the nonsense.

  1. Fiona, I watched Prime Time on RTE1 TV last night. Its unbelievable that the politicians and Eirgrid think they can walk all over us. Reading your account showed the reality of the situation. If only we had more people like you as our ‘public representatives’ in the true sense of the words, we would have a country we would all be proud of and our forefathers wouldn’t have died in vain. This is our equivalent of the ‘War of Independence’.

    • Noreen, there are thousands of people gathering and protesting all over the country. It was inspiring to meet so many and to know that that there is huge opposition to this ‘green energy’ plan.
      Because Eirgrid is a semi-state company there are regulations and guidelines as to what our national press is allowed to report! In Ireland, the state retains wide-ranging laws which allow for censorship, including specific laws covering films, advertisements, newspapers and magazines.
      The internet has played a very big role with people sharing and empowering each other with knowledge, facts and support.

  2. Fiona, thank you for recognising that this is a People thing, and the further away the politicians are, it seems the more powerful this popular groundswell becomes. One thing I would like to discuss. I think our politicians exploit the fact that we are part of the EU in that whenever there is an unopopular law they saw ‘ah sure, it’s not our choice, it’s the EU’. Actually that is not true because the EU sends out Directives and the Member State takes that Directive and gives it ‘national flavour’ to fit in with the custom and culture (and legal system) of that particular member State. It has often happened that where the EU Directive gives a citizen more rights, the Irish Government of the day ‘interprets’ that Directive to give us no rights (the Aarhus Treaty being a good example) or where that Directive imposes duties, the Irish Government of the day ‘interprets’ that Directive to impose more duties on the People (for example, the 20/20/20 Directive imposed 16% renewable generation on Ireland, and what did the Government say? 40% so as to allow the building of all these wind farms and their super pylons). Keep up the great blog. Yours in solidarity. Neil van Dokkum, Comeraghs Against Pylons.

    • Neil, thanks a million for popping in and leaving a comment.
      I totally agree with you, a few months ago I had very little knowledge of how our political system worked. Since writing this (last nov.) I’ve met others who have shared their knowledge and thoughts. Richard Boyd Barrett, a sound guy from what I experienced, with a deep understanding of the divide between people and politics. Mattie McGrath, who has a head FULL of local issues and a man I would respect for his efforts. Kieran Allen, sociology lecturer at University College Dublin, co-authored a book a while ago called ‘Austerity Ireland’, I met him again a few weeks later and got a copy of it, it’s one of the best reads on Irish politics that I’ve ever read and I can’t recommend it enough for someone like myself who knows nothing but has loads of questions. His book joins the dots and helped me gain an understanding of how the political system was set up originally and how it’s maintained it’s power for so long .. he covers the subject that you mentioned there and refers to our state’s priorities ~ picking and choosing the EU guidelines for Ireland to suit corporate business while maintaining a veneer of social fairness. It’s only when EU directives are turned to law that Ireland reluctantly follows and that’s only after fines and threats. (waste water management and environmental management are two of the more outstanding issues that EU has with Ireland and as far as I know we are still paying fines on a daily basis for not conforming, but I’d need to check that again)
      My own fear would be that our state leaders will continue to ignore EU guidelines and ‘drive on’ with this Grid Link and other outrageous notions of ‘green energy’ programs knowing that the fines will always be €millions less than the profits, but the profits will line their own nest eggs and those of their cronies that they aspire to be.
      I also fear war … we Irish are known for our temper and our states history is short enough for most of us to remember how a war is won.
      I have read comments on threads suggesting to ‘pre-order your dynamite lads’ and ‘diamond tipped blades might do the job on the turbines, if not use it on the construction workers’. Flippant enough comments and some are even funny but it gives a little insight into the mood. You know yourself we try out an idea first with humour and see how it’s accepted. Are people testing the waters?

      It’s a people protest, educated, united, preparing to use the law, passionate about health and environmental issues … but you and I both know that that’s the minority, what will the rest of the protesters get up to? There’s a lot of hurt and angry people out there, trying to survive from one week to the next and they console themselves with ‘at least my family is healthy and we’re living in a lovely spot’. It’s only a matter of time before people start asking politicians ‘How did you let this happen?’ This whole renewable energy project threatens whats left in Irish society, the bankers have come and gone, now the vultures are here for the pickings and the most devastating part is, it was our own who invited them all in.
      I looked up the word treachery and found ‘chicanery’ … much more appropriate.

      I’m thinking we’ll bump into each other at some point Neil so until then … and is it OK with you if I share some of your writings on the facebook page?

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