Tuesday 12 November 2019

Brid Smith says she is ‘best pals’ with Cher over singer’s anti-fracking stance

The People Before Profit TD accused Irish PM Leo Varadkar and his government of denying climate change after he said there were positives to it.

Cher and Brid Smith TD (Ian West/Niall Carson/PA)
Cher and Brid Smith TD (Ian West/Niall Carson/PA)

By Aine McMahon PA

People Before Profit TD Brid Smith has said she and US singer Cher are “best pals” after she tweeted her opposition to oil and gas fracking.

Ms Smith has been a vocal critic of the Government’s support for the controversial Shannon LNG project that would facilitate importation of fracked gas from US to Ireland.

Fracking is a technique in which high-pressure water, sand and chemicals are pumped into shale rock to help extract natural gas.

Cher tweeted a link on Monday asking the Irish Government not to let the plan go ahead as Ireland has already banned fracking.

“Me and Cher are best pals now.

“She has been great and there has been a few celebrities across the board that have been championing anti-fracking campaigns as has Mark Ruffalo but unfortunately it falls on deaf ears when it comes to Leo Varadkar and the Environment Minister Richard Bruton,” she said.

“They don’t see the importance of taking a position on fracked gas when we have already passed legislation to ban fracking here so I absolutely do welcome Cher’s support,” she said.

Ms Smith accused Mr Varadkar of being a climate change denier after he stated climate change had some benefits such as lower heating bills and fewer deaths due to cold weather.

The Irish premier made comments last week suggesting climate change has a positive effect on the weather.

Speaking at the launch of the first progress report on the Climate Action Plan last week, Mr Varadkar said: “It’s interesting to see that there can be pluses and minuses as well, like actually one thing that we definitely face as a result of climate change is warmer winters, we’re already experiencing warmer winters, and that actually means using less energy, because it’s warmer.

“And people use less heating and also that means fewer deaths as a result of cold weather.”

Extinction Rebellion protesters wore bikinis and bermuda shorts and sat on deckchairs outside the Dail in the rain and cold at lunchtime on Wednesday to protest against Mr Varadkar’s comments.

Ms Smith said she was taken aback by Mr Varadkar’s comments, saying: “It was an extraordinary statement from the leader of the country in the midst of the biggest challenge facing not just the Irish state but the world,” she said.

“I honestly believe it is because of the very serious amount of lobbying that has been done by the fossil fuel industry.

“It is only thanks to journalists that we know the extent of the lobbying that has been carried out,” she said.

“The Taoiseach and his Government continue to deny climate change, they are in climate change denial and unfortunately the opposition parties said do something about this and listen to the scientist and they are not doing it,” she said.

“When climate change and the consequences of it worsen in this country, we will have Leo Varadkar and Fine Gael to thank for continuing to be an outlier and not a leader in how they deal with it,” she said.

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