Ireland South European Election candidate Kieran Hartley has said he is disappointed but not surprised by Labour’s latest attempt to deflect from the real issues facing the public and the country in terms of Ireland’s energy needs into the future.
“One of the main messages I have been focussing on during this campaign is the need for the Government to get real about energy policy. Unfortunately a genuine attempt to raise this issue in the media has been met with petty dirty tricks from Labour”, commented the Ireland South candidate.
“Ireland is currently importing in excess of 90% of the country’s energy needs and included in that is electricity from the UK generated by nuclear power plants there, which I’ve made reference to in recent media articles. We need a serious debate about our energy needs and the policy position we adopt as a country in securing our energy future while growing our economy and creating jobs. This debate must include the communities that are directly affected by this. I have no intention of getting into a pointless tit-for-tat row with Phil Prendergast unless she is serious about discussing the substance of the issues.
“There are 11 renewable energy sources and those are the ones I want the Government to explore, including switching the coal-burning Moneypoint plant, which imports 2.7 million tonnes of American coal per year, to biomass. And I want to stress again that we can do this without the need for industrial windfarms or giant pylons destroying our beautiful countryside.
“Phil Prendergast’s Labour Party and Minister Pat Rabbitte have singularly failed to deliver any positive change in the last three years that will support Ireland’s energy needs into the future. But failure to deliver has come to define Labour’s time in Government. The Labour party cannot continue to look after the interests of big energy developers while ignoring the genuine concerns of rural communities which will have to live with these projects for the next 60 years.
“I was surprised to see at the recent Munster matches in Dublin and in Thomond Park that Phil Prendergast’s team were handing out free bottles of water at a time when Labour in Government is going to charge ordinary householders up to €250 a year just for a water supply. The comparison would be comical if it weren’t so serious for the families across the country who cannot afford Labour’s new water charges.
“We need strong representation in Europe and we know when it comes to the major issues ahead – Labour will fail to deliver again.”