Editorial: Protests or not, we all need power
Wind turbines and electricity pylons are two of the most emotive issues in the Irish countryside.
Yesterday they drew thousands of protesters, although it might be said just half of what was expected, to the gates of the Dail in Kildare Street in central Dublin to make politicians aware of their feelings towards this twin intrusion on the landscape.
It is all too easy for city dwellers to dismiss these protests as yet another instance of 'not in my back yard' but the truth is that few people would want to live in close proximity to either a turbine or large pylons. Yet both, we are told, are necessary: the pylons for a guaranteed supply of electricity, something that is vital for both the economy and domestic users; and wind turbines because renewable energy, such as wind, is the future if we are to tackle climate change in any meaningful way.
There is little doubt that the collapse of talks to export wind energy via an interconnector to Britain will be welcomed by some politicians. On the other hand, the electricity pylons are now the subject of exhaustive new studies to see if they can be replaced by underground cabling at a reasonable cost.
Wind energy is part of the future, whether we like it or not. So a locations for large scale wind farming on or off-shore has to be found. Time is marching on and political considerations and NIMBYism will have to take a back seat to pragmatic decisions.