Easter uprising, Dublin, April 2014.
Over the millennia, the Irish have suffered their fair share of merciless oppression. But, whatever the agent of their misery, their antagonists are guaranteed of one thing: the Irish fight.
And so it is with the wind industry, as it brazenly attempts to carpet every last inch of the Emerald Isle.
One wind industry strategy is to simply grind down its opponents, by buying political favour and greasing the palms of naïve and gullible journalists to constantly lambast and ridicule pro-farming and pro-community defenders as a bunch of red-necked, climate change denying, NIMBYs.
While the wind industry may have hoped that strategy would play out in its favour in Ireland, communities are as angry, if not angrier, than ever about the manner in which wind power outfits have ridden roughshod over their basic human rights – such as the right to sleep, live in and otherwise enjoy their family homes, free from incessant turbine generated low-frequency noise and infrasound – aided and abetted by a political ‘system’ that can be described as “crony capitalism”, at its best; or “wholesale, systemic corruption”, at its worst.
And one of the things that makes communities angriest of all is the fact that the wind industry’s central ‘justification’ for massive and endless subsidies, and the community havoc it causes – that wind power reduces CO2 emissions in the electricity sector – is a complete and utter falsehood.
In this post we cover a monster Dublin protest, where the leaders of community defence groups from all over Ireland descended on the Dáil Éireann to drive home their message – that wind power is a failed experiment and that these things do not work on any level: social, economic or environmental.
Paula Byrne, Public Relations Officer for Wind Aware Ireland gives a brilliant summation of all of those facts in the following radio interview – which will reward those with an internet connection stable and fast enough to run it – for those without, STT has provided the transcript. But we’ll start with a short piece from the Leinster Express that gives some background to the protest.
Laois people opposed to turbines and pylons join protest at the Dáil
16 November 2016
The groups involved say representatives from each county wearing their county colours will protest against “industrial wind farms and pylons”
An anti-wind turbine and pylon demonstration is being mounted at the Dáil today by people from Laois and other counties as part of ongoing campaigns of opposition.
The groups involved say representatives from each county, wearing their county colours, will protest against “industrial wind farms and pylons” at the Dáil in Dublin this Wednesday 16th November 12-2pm.
TDs and Senators are invited to meet their county representatives and explain why their party’s support industrial wind farm developments.
“We are demonstrating because of the on-going neglect of communities by their public representatives on this issue. We have been forced to fight industrial wind farm developers at great financial and emotional cost.
“Astonishingly all political parties continue to take the easy option of supporting the roll out of industrial wind in their energy policy and enable big wind developers to force these monstrosities on local landscapes solely to benefit themselves,” says a social media post from Wind Aware Ireland.
Here’s Paula Byrne’s radio interview – transcript follows, interspersed with pictures from the protest.
Interviewer: Paula Byrne is the PRO of Wind Aware and a native of County Laois as well. Paula, good morning to you.
Paula Byrne: Good morning, Will. How are you?
Interviewer: I am good. In terms of this protest, which is coming up, you said this is really about showing that you haven’t gone away.
Paula Byrne: It is, and it’s to remind our public representatives that it’s they that are responsible for the enormous stress that our community is facing down industrial wind farms, pylons, substations across the country, and to remind them that every party behind those gates in Dáil Éireann support the role out of industrial wind, regardless of what individual TDs [Teachta Dála ie a Member of the Lower House] say.
We know that the wind project is a failed experiment. I’m smiling listening to the tea shop there talking about climate change. This is absolutely nothing to do with climate change. Wind has been an abysmal failure as in it failed to do what it was set up to do, which is reduce our CO2 emissions. We know that wind has only saved, 1400 turbines, saves about 2 to 4% of our CO2 emissions, so that doesn’t justify the stress that the communities are put under. It doesn’t justify 240 million euros in subsidies, which these big wind developers are getting every year from us out of our electricity prices. It doesn’t justify the destruction of our landscape and our precious environment, and it doesn’t justify the families who have had to move out of their homes because of noisy wind turbines and low frequency noise and that kind of thing.
So I think TDs are quite happy to turn up at local meetings and make comforting noises and tut-tut about individual projects. We are challenging them to change their policy because they all support industrial wind and, in particular, the government’s white paper notes that industrial wind development needs to be accelerated, so the hypocrisy of … While we welcome pressure being put on about the long-awaited planning guidelines, that’s not the central issue. The central issue is a policy that promotes wind, which is going to do nothing for the environment and have huge costs to society and the environment and the economics.
Interviewer: Do you think there is a bit of change in policy, though, given that particularly maybe two years ago, there was a much bigger push particularly for large-scale industrial firms?
Paula Byrne: I think we have been reasonably successful at pointing out the failure of this policy and the inadequacy of wind as a technology to actually replace conventional generation. Unfortunately, it’s like a steam train that has been set in motion and it’s very difficult to face down both the ideological attachment to it and the old boys’ network, essentially, that has been running this. I would say that that old boys network goes right through the Department of Communications, right through the SEAI and, unfortunately, through certain sectors of the media as well. So it’s very hard to push back against that when you are unfunded voluntary community groups.
I think there is a bit of a change, but still, all over the country, I mean I have people on to me all the time under huge pressure. They’re having to fight through the planning process, through the courts – with warts and all – – threatening them in court, so it’s an enormous stress to the communities and nobody is really standing with us on this. They’re making, as I said, noises about setback and that kind of thing, but the policy needs to change. I have to say we’re very disappointed that Minister Naughten who is first rural TD in the position that he’s in, having followed, I think, three Dublin-based ministers who had no empathy for rural Ireland whatsoever, that Minister Naughten hasn’t hit the ground running.
This policy needs to stop and pause and actually somebody do a few sums up there and figure out if we’re going to reduce CO2, how are we going to do it in an effective way and stop giving money to these huge developers who are crushing rural communities. It’s very, very distressing and it’s very, very stressful.
Interviewer: Again, I can only play devil’s advocate on this one in terms of representing Minister Naughten’s position on this. I’m sure he will probably say to that that he’s been working away in the background on these new guidelines, which are going to be extremely important, and the last time I spoke to him, which is about two months ago, he was hoping that it’d be done by Christmas. Now, this is still seen as a fairly key piece of legislation.
Paula Byrne: Well, Minister Naughten, when he went in there, promised within three to six months. We’re now, I think, at the six months’ point and there are no guidelines. We’ve been talking for four years and in that four years, the communities are being absolutely hammered out there and, as I’ve said, forced to face down huge business interests with huge resources behind them … and our department in SEAI.
Minister Naughten – talk is all very well – let’s see a bit of action here, please. Guidelines are not the answer. There should be a moratorium on wind. It’s an absolutely nonsensical policy. It’s not doing anything for our CO2 emissions and it should stop.
Interviewer: Paula, from what you said, it seems the appetite to fight this hasn’t dropped from your point of view?
Paula Byrne: No, I think people are becoming more and more entrenched and more and more disillusioned by our public representatives and we really are on our own. My own community has spent over $60,000 euros on a case, and that’s replicated all over the country and the stress and the … People having to become experts in areas, so that they can … Like we now have expertise on how much silt should go into the water where the normal fresh water pearl mussel is. We shouldn’t have to do that. We shouldn’t have to protect what our government should be protecting and defend what our government should be defending. We shouldn’t have to be put in that position and people are very, very angry.
We have today representation from over 20 counties in Ireland, all outside the Dáil wearing their county colours. We have the renowned piper, Roland Brown, piping a lament for rural Ireland and we mean that with all our hearts. We are absolutely despairing, we’re absolutely furious, and we have been let down by our public representatives.
Interviewer: Are you hoping that maybe some of those public representatives who will be heading in towards their offices in the Leinster House Offices today, are you expecting some of them might engage with you guys on the way in today?
Paula Byrne: Well, that’s the point. We have asked them all. They’ve all been emailed, well, a lot of them have been tweeted to please come out and explain their position and, as I said, these comforting noises about individual projects won’t cut it. Change your policy, please, now.
Interviewer: Paula, many thanks for joining us on the program this morning.
Paula Byrne: Thank you, Will. Bye-bye.
Interviewer: That’s Paula Byrne, is the PRO of Wind Aware Ireland.