Letters to the Editor: 'Electric avenues beckon en route to greener economy'
One of the great drawbacks to a future clean environment is how greatly politicians and economists underestimate technology.
It is possible great mistakes may be made through ignorance of what technology can achieve. A prime example is in planning to replace internal combustion with electric propulsion.
All thinking relates to developing massive batteries to exceed the 400km range already possible between recharges and installing countless charging points.
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There must however be serious considerations of lithium batteries; a dangerous and environmentally unfriendly material to mine, to use and to dispose of.
But not to worry; all the talk and planning may be in vain as an alternative method of plugging transportation into the National Grid may be at hand.
Many who purchased new cars recently are no doubt befuddled by the ability to charge their mobile phones without plugging them into the vehicle circuitry.
Phones are just carelessly thrown into a rather spacious compartment and charged by wi-fi. In other words, electrical transmission over distance without direct connection.
Imagine this technology developed to propel vehicles along motorways and major roads which have entirely safe, highly insulated electrical cables embedded into the travelling surface or along the boundaries.
Each vehicle would be fitted with an induction device to draw electricity from the embedded cables, sufficient to propel the vehicle and keep an on-board, relatively small battery, charged which would seamlessly take over whenever the vehicle needed to depart the main electrical circuitry and travel smaller, non-powered routes.
The on-board battery could provide substantial travel distance, say up to 200km, before returning to the major electrified routes to be relieved of propulsion duties and recharged to full capacity.
Very few travel limitations; no charging delays; no unsightly charging stations all over the country.
Pie in the sky and frivolous fantasising? Don’t bet on it; modern technology is doing the un-doable every day.
The first such chargeable road section is on trial in Sweden and numerous university and research institutes are trying to perfect the process. So hold all the jumbo-sized batteries and multiple charging stations.
The solution to limitless electrical travel may be at hand.
Tubbercurry, Co Sligo
Who voted for Lagarde to become the new ECB chief?
It's always funny the way people who are known to have messed up big time manage to get kicked up ladders rather than get pushed off them when it comes to the EU.
To appoint Christine Lagarde as the new head of the ECB is to ignore her role – which found her a criminal conviction – regarding purposeful negligence when she was minister for finance in a French government.
She helped out a friend to the tune of €40m, as you would, by letting this amount of money illegally flow through her department to pay the man. She avoided jail because this mad amount of money was paid back prior to her case being heard. Are we in safe hands with her nibs at the ECB wheel?
Hmm... And who voted for her in any EU election to parliament?
Bantry, Co Cork
Backstop only way to force UK into realistic approach
While it may prove this backstop demand causes a hard exit, it may not make much difference in the long run. The real issue is the long-term trading relationship.
This relationship looks a poorer one than before with trading tariffs between us and the UK. This will force a hard Border unless an exceptional agreement can be reached.
Tactically, if we want to avoid a hard Border, it would appear to make sense to hold on to the backstop. Because, the day after the hard exit, if it happens, the UK will be forced back to the table, trying to negotiate some kind of trading relationship with the EU. But this time, the status quo will hurt the British, and they will be forced to be more realistic.
If we drop the backstop and we get the poor trading relationship that is expected, there will be no exceptional clause to deal with the Border. We will have signed up to a permanent hard Border.
Retaining the backstop may cause the UK to recognise Northern Ireland is a region of 50:50 dual nationality which requires an exceptional solution.
The Government stance is the correct one because the damage done to the Irish economy and civil life is much more dependent on the long-term agreement than any short-term pain from the hard exit.
As it now appears we are going to get a poor long-term trading relationship, opted for by the UK government due to their red lines, we will only lose out further by dropping our demand for the backstop.
Cormac Mac Donncha