Friday 23 August 2019

Brendan O'Connor: 'Forty Shades of Green'

Sir David Attenborough (Peter Byrne/PA)
Sir David Attenborough (Peter Byrne/PA)
Brendan O'Connor

Brendan O'Connor

It was all very well when people were letting their kids and David Attenborough tell them how to vote, but the country then woke up with somewhat of a green hangover. It was all great fun at the time, but then came The Fear on Sunday morning. David Attenborough never mentioned anything about €100bn to retrofit our houses. For €100bn, we could build 33 rural broadband projects. Or maybe one children's hospital (You know with computers and everything we will probably end up rounding it off to an even 100).

Last week we had to face up to some serious questions about how deep our commitment to the environment is. For example, we know that refrigeration produces CFCs which are bad for the environment. So what is the carbon-friendly plan for how we intend to refrigerate Barry Andrews and Liadh Ni Riada until Brexit happens? The way things are going, cryogenic freezing may be in order because they, like the rest of us, could be long gone by the time Brexit happens.

Of course, the other parties are tripping over themselves now to show their green credentials. There used to be a cliche about dinosaur rock bands fighting for survival in the age of dance music, who would say, "there's always been a dance element to our music". Fine Gael have been frantically trying to tell us this past week that there has always been a green element to their politics. Richard Bruton is, Fine Gael claim, the very embodiment of environmentalism given he represents the FG policy of constantly recycling the same families.

The party also has concerns about how to power Leo's hot air and constant spin cycle. One party insider last night suggested that Maria Bailey could be locked in a room and made swing on a swing in perpetuity, powering a turbine. "It would be seen as fit punishment for Maria Bailey and would also save energy, thus killing two birds with one stone," the insider said. "Not that we have any truck with killing birds or any other wildlife," he hastily added.

It perhaps said it all that as the country allegedly went green last week, signs went up at Dublin Bay warning people that swimming at Sandymount or Merrion Strands would make them sick, due to animal waste and our own waste. It perhaps says it all that we have this magnificent amenity in our city that would be the envy of any European capital, and we can't look after it. But then, of course, these toxic beaches are overlooked by a massive hulk of an incinerator belching its plume, signed off on by a Green minister for the environment in his own constituency. A constant, looming reminder to the Greens of the compromises of power, and a reminder to the rest of us of the last time we went green.

Sunday Independent

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