Sunday 18 March 2018

'We can’t believe all of what the scientists are saying' - Danny Healy-Rae defends his comments on climate change

Danny Healy-Rae told the Dáil chamber that mankind had no impact on climate change
Danny Healy-Rae told the Dáil chamber that mankind had no impact on climate change

Meadhbh McGrath

Independent TD Danny Healy-Rae has defended his comments on climate change as “based on facts”.

Speaking on Newstalk Lunchtime, the Kerry TD stood by his belief, expressed at the Dáil’s debate on climate change yesterday, that climate change is an act of “God above”.

“There were serious patterns of climate change going back over the ages, starting with the ice age.

“If you come along with the 11th and 12th centuries in Ireland, it was very, very warm and very, very dry. In the 15th and 16th centuries, it was predominantly wet, then culminating in a serious famine caused by years of wet weather,” he told the programme.

Mr Healy-Rae said he was “more interested in Ireland” than about the impact of climate change on developing countries.

“I base my knowledge on what happened here in Ireland over the years and I’m not aware of what happened in other countries.

“Maybe I’m not up to date on what happened there but I’m certainly right, the history shows that what I’m saying here today is true,” he said.

Read More: Kerry's Sarah Palin? Danny Healy-Rae says changing climate is an act of 'God above'

Host Jonathan Healy quoted the comments of NUI Maynooth’s geography lecturer John Sweeney, who warned that people should be “very wary” of accepting Mr Healy-Rae’s comments, emphasising that they are “only opinions” and not based on facts.

When asked if he would consider the counter-point that he may be wrong, Mr Healy-Rae said: “Nope. I’m basing my argument on facts, going back historically in this country.

“If we go back to the 1970s, we were told by scientists that our buildings were going to be washed away by acid rain. It hasn’t happened, so we can’t believe all of what the scientists are saying.”

He added that he has been “listening to Eamon Ryan for years” but could not share the Green Party leader’s position on climate change.

Mr Healy-Rae noted that his feelings on the issue are “already widely known”, as he outlined his views many times during Kerry Country Council meetings, and said he wasn’t surprised by the reaction to his comments.

When pressed on whether he would take into consideration the opposing views of the Green Party and scientists like Mr Sweeney, he eventually agreed that he would.

“Alright, but I tell you they’ve a lot of work to do if my mind is going to be changed on this.”

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