Sunday 17 February 2019

Turbine negotiations running out of puff

The turbines have become bitterly divisive around the country
The turbines have become bitterly divisive around the country
Editorial

Editorial

According to the Romans, air only becomes wind when it is agitated, and it could scarcely be more so, especially in the context of the placing of high-powered turbines.

The location of the giant windmills has been hugely divisive and efforts to come to some kind of accommodation have invariably ended in failure.

It seems that the latest effort to come up with a formula to end the stand-off may also have run out of puff.

Environment Minister Alan Kelly has a notion to enforce a limit banning them within a kilometre of towns and villages.

Their proximity to private residences would also be restricted under the changes. So far, so good.

The problem is that internal wrangling between Mr Kelly and Energy Minister Alex White means that the new proposals may never get past the drawing board.

Mr Kelly is apparently "hugely frustrated" at his Labour colleague and fellow cabinet member Mr White.

For his part Mr White believes that the guidelines will impede the use of such energy, and thus we could be in breach of EU renewable energy targets.

Things have come to such a pass that talks have apparently "broken down".

With both ministers apparently at risk of throwing their rattles out of the pram, it behoves the grown-ups to come along and knock heads together.

The issue has already dragged on for so long that it could be taken out of all of their hands, and handed over to local authorities, as existing rules will soon be out of date.

The turbines have become bitterly divisive around the country. Some certainty would be wise, the sooner the better. The Coalition hardly needs to hand the public another rod to beat it with in the run up to an election.

Tougher sentences to deal with rural attacks

The savage attack on Eva Sutton was just the latest in a series in which elderly people have been terrorised in their own homes. This newspaper has carried too many stories of vulnerable pensioners who no longer sleep at night and live in a state of anxiety, after being traumatised by thugs.

There is ample evidence to suggest that violent gangs are taking advantage of the closure of rural garda stations to swoop on the elderly in isolated areas.

The closure of banks which leads older people to keep money at home is also a draw for thieves.

Having worked and contributed to community life for decades, the elderly have earned the right to a bit of peace and comfort. Instead they cower behind bolted doors.

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald has pledged 500 new gardaí. There is also talk of the restoration of garda overtime. But the minister does not believe that the closure of garda stations in recent years has led to an increase in rural crime. She says that shutting of stations had freed up enough money to pay for 61,000 additional man hours for the Garda Síochana. People are frightened and the security of knowing that there were gardaí nearby, offered its consolation. As attacks grow more frequent and the level of wanton cruelty and violence intensifies the Government must come up with a meaningful deterrent.

Tougher sentences for those who attack older people are overdue, the Government's commitment to rural communities needs to be urgently reviewed.

Irish Independent

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