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How can Opposition remain silent on a policy which is clearly not in our national interest?

A week ago the Green energy Minister Eamon Ryan welcomed the €100m EU grant to build an electricity interconnector between Dublin and Wales, yodelling that it would benefit consumers by placing downward pressure on prices, and by increasing competition in the electricity sector. "It will boost Ireland's and Europe's energy security," he rejoiced.

Good. Excellent. First class. Now, a year before this splendid initiative, a government minister announced that he would not allow uranium-prospecting licences for two exploration companies in Donegal. He explained: "The most likely end use of any uranium extracted here would be for nuclear energy generation. It would not be consistent therefore to permit the extraction of uranium for use in nuclear reactors in other countries while Ireland is opposed to the use of electricity generated by nuclear power in Ireland."

The man who uttered those words is none other than Eamon Ryan. So we have a minister who is actually against any scientific enquiry which will reveal the extent of our potential nuclear resources, lest whatever is discovered might one day be exported. Meanwhile, the self-same minister is welcoming the importation of electricity from Britain -- and over 20pc of British power is nuclear-generated.

Now, I have all the foregoing material in my brain, and I don't actually know what to do with it, because it's all so preposterous. We actually have an elected politician, a minister for energy, whose preferred intellectual position is a carefully protected ignorance about our energy resources. I've never, ever heard of someone in power publicly declaring that he prefers to be ignorant of something, because he is scared of the consequence of knowledge. This is the logic of the kindergarten.

More than that I cannot, say, simply because I have no words to describe my feelings. I am therefore utterly incapable of framing a reaction to the welcome given the Minister's decision by Friends of the Irish Environment, that "it marked the advent of a non-hypocritical energy regime".

Ah: so that's a "non-hypocritical energy regime", is it? And Josef Stalin was a vegetarian Buddhist nun from Bohola.

Look. I realise that the Greens are a closed book to me. I accept that. I have as much understanding of their "intellectual position" -- and I use those words with as much elasticity as you'll find in the waistband of Dawn French's knickers -- as I have of the astrophysics of quasars. This is a shortcoming which I am happy to take to my grave. But what of the politicians of other parties? How is it that they can remain silent in the face of the formulation of a policy which not merely refines hypocrisy into an art form to match the Sistine Chapel in its extravagance, but is clearly not in our national interest?

We have made two undertakings. The first is not to allow anyone to discover how much uranium we have. This is to prevent us then exporting it, because we are against nuclear power in all its forms, both home and abroad.

The second is to agree to construct an inter-connector through which we will import nuclear-generated electricity from Britain, which is -- hurrah! hurrah! -- made from non-Irish uranium: and not a single opposition politician has a word to say on the matter.

Perhaps it's because both positions -- the ban on prospecting and the decision over the inter-connector -- were made during the two six-week Christmas Dail breaks of 2007 and 2008, and our army of TDs -- splendid fellows and fellettes, the lot! -- were therefore unaware of them.

Look, if your head isn't already spinning off your shoulders at all this, then allow me to get it revolving at a few more mph by telling you that there is a certain Green politician who thinks we should have an open debate on the appropriateness of nuclear fuel: yes, none other than Eamon Ryan, the fine fellow who doesn't want us to know how much uranium there is in Ireland, who is against nuclear power everywhere, and who welcomes the importation of nuclear-generated electricity from Britain. (Gentle reader, just drink a bottle of whiskey, and you'll be fine in the morning).

Now, actually there is one overwhelmingly convincing argument against an Irish nuclear power plant. If we get one, it will probably be run by some branch of the civil service, and will either be a black hole sucking energy out of the entire national grid, or will seep nuclear waste everywhere, and we'll all wake up to find that we have ginger biscuits instead of noses, and can only speak Martian. But otherwise, the arguments against are pretty thin, for the technology has been proven in countries as diverse as France, Canada and Sweden.

But I suspect that logic is far less relevant here than our pathological need to feel morally superior, the very quality which underlies our cowardly and unprincipled 'neutrality'.

We are in no military pacts, therefore we are uniquely virtuous. Similarly, we are a nuclear-free country, na na na na naa. Meanwhile, our airspace is protected by the Anglo-Americans, and our future electricity shortfalls will be made good from the nuclear-powered grid of the UK.

kmyers@independent.ie