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« A new HSI review | Main | Deben in Veolia mode again »
Friday
Mar012013

The unbearable detachment of EU beings

This is a guest post by Pat Swords.

One sometimes has to go be persistent and dig out the evidence bit by bit until one has what can be justifiably described as a 'smoking gun'. Look at the attached emails, received from the EU Commission by Joseph Caulfield, one of those now following my 'road somewhat less travelled'. If you look at the first message you might be initially perplexed, but then you might not recognise the person in the Commission it is from. However, while not a household name, the sender does have some major significance: she is the Secretary General of the EU Commission.

So what is it all about and how did we get there? In July 2012 the EU opened a consultation on energy infrastructure projects that would be considered for preferential funding and planning arrangements. I don't know if you were aware of this, but the electricity projects for Ireland were quite shocking not only in terms of financial scale, but also in relation to their massive environmental impact. I'm sure you will recognise similar features in relation to those proposed for Scotland.

However, all that was provided for the public was essentially a 'one liner' description. So how could an effective public participation take place?

What then began was a battle, which is still on-going, and which you can follow in logical order in the emails. The EU was requested to provide supporting information on the projects, as this wasn't available from the developers or the Department of Energy here in Dublin. There was a flat out refusal to provide it, and rules related to privacy and commercial confidentiality were quoted. The matter then went to a legal request under the Aarhus Regulation. There was again a refusal, this time from Philip Lowe, the Director General in DG Energy.

This was considered unacceptable, so a confirmatory application was made. Under the Aarhus Regulation there are 15 working days allowed with regard to replying to requests for information. After 15 working days, a reply was received requesting an extension in time. And the end of this 15 working days a similar reply was received. When 15 working days had passed and no reply was received, a formal complaint was sent to the EU Ombudsman. This was acknowledged and in time the EU Ombudsman confirmed that a formal investigation would be conducted into the failure to provide the documentation.

Today, almost exactly seven months after the initial request was made, what was received from the Secretary General of the EU Commission was a short and concise blank questionnaire form that supposedly the developers filled in, in order to be selected as potential projects of Common Interest.

What is disturbing, is that if you have ever been to Dublin (or seen U2 Videos), there is the very prominent landmark of two adjacent power station chimneys; these are 207 m tall. For the midlands region of Ireland there are now proposals to build more than two thousand turbines at 185 m in height to export renewable electricity to the UK. This project, Element Power, was one of the seven electricity projects in the "consultation".

The impacts of this project are simply staggering, yet here we have the most senior officials in the EU rushing through a consultation in respect of potential priority funding and planning for it and other developments and we now find out, after seven months of persistence, that either:

  • they have no information to back it up or
  • what they have is so trivial they are embarrassed to release it.

If the general public knew what form of administration and accountability was going on, they would be rightly shocked, so I hope you and others can distribute this message.

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Reader Comments (30)

And to think that I was a Europhile for many years. How gullible I must have been.

Mar 1, 2013 at 9:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Stroud

EU elections next year, use your franchise wisely and be very loud about it!

Mar 1, 2013 at 10:06 AM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

It should be treated with the seriousness it deserves. This is a form of war.

Mar 1, 2013 at 10:14 AM | Unregistered Commenterfenbeagle

Realists, have long been fighting an Assymetric war - as Pointman calls it Fen'.

"It should be treated with the seriousness it deserves. This is a form of war."

Mar 1, 2013 at 10:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

Pat Swords, the countries of Ireland and the UK owe you a huge debt. Thank you for your efforts.

Mar 1, 2013 at 10:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterAndy scrase

The Irish spend hundreds of years gaining independence from Britain, then sell out to Brussels, who then plan to build, in Ireland, more than two thousand turbines at 185 m in height to export renewable electricity to the UK.

I thought Irish jokes were verboten!

Mar 1, 2013 at 10:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterRobert Christopher

The idea of building massive wind turbines on peat bogs in Ireland and then building transmission lines to carry a pathetic amount of electricity to the UK (if any of it actually arrives) is so laughable as to believe we are in Alice In Wonderland territory on the 1st of April. What insanity is it that is behind such a crazy notion and how do they get away with it? Why is no-one in DECC or the UK Government coming out and saying that this is complete madness?

Keep up the fight Pat.

Mar 1, 2013 at 10:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

This is neo-colonialism, the CO2-AGW used to justify the windmills, in effect a rerun of the Easter Island Statue Cult by the elite and vast profit for the Mafia who own the renewables' corporations.

The illusory CO2 savings are to enrich the carbon traders and the logging companies driving indigenous populations off their land in third world countries, thereby to grow carbon offset plantations. A derivative scam was tried by the WWF to 'protect' the Amazonian rainforest.

Mar 1, 2013 at 10:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlecM

From Element Power's web site

"Element Power is a global renewable energy developer that develops, acquires, builds, owns and operates a portfolio of wind and solar power generation facilities worldwide.

We are present in 16 countries, with 74MW in operation, and 9,280MW of projects in development; our international team is responsible for over 14,000MW of renewable energy projects operating in Europe, North and Latin America and Asia.

Owned by Hudson Clean Energy Partners, a leading global private equity firm dedicated solely to investing in renewable power, alternative fuels, energy efficiency and storage. "

So they are currently a bit player with high ambitions including the 4GW Ireland wind farm project. And a look at HCEP's web site 'team' page is well worth some of your bandwidth as it revals that its two managing partners are ex-investment bankers with Goldman-Sachs, Barclays Capital, Morgan Stanley and Credit-Suisse. So clearly they have been involv din hyping up the whole carbon market scam and are now very much seeking to profit from it.

Mar 1, 2013 at 11:07 AM | Unregistered CommenterKevinUK

@ Phillip Bratby. Exactly, an excellent summary of this unrelenting madness. It also smacks of a certain patronising tone - 'Ireland is bust so we (the EU, closely followed by the UK) can do pretty much as we please, just so long as we offer the carrot of jobs'. 2,000 of these useless monstrosities really is taking the p*ss.

Mar 1, 2013 at 11:17 AM | Unregistered Commentercheshirered

@ cheshirered Mar 1, 2013 at 11:17 AM

2000 of the useless monstrosities will be an open wound bleeding subsidies from the Irish economy, to recover cost of purchase, installation, connection, upgrade and maintenance. This will never end, since after 15 or so years, when the initial cost has been "earned" back by subsidy (= paid by the taxpayer) the windmills will have to be completely renewed. The bleeding will go on...

Mar 1, 2013 at 11:33 AM | Registered CommenterAlbert Stienstra

Not to mention the fact that subsidy farms built on peat bogs actually increase CO2 emissions.

Mar 1, 2013 at 12:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve Y

Peat bogs in Ireland have traditionally been harvested for fuel used by locals all over Ireland for many years.

In some places in Ireland, following a decision from Brussels, many traditional "owners" of this harvesting right have had it withdrawn. There have been protests, but when faced with massive fines I think that these individuals gave in.

'Nuf said I think.

Mar 1, 2013 at 1:14 PM | Registered Commenterpeterwalsh

Hi ! This mail address for informations money of organizations Greenpeace and cies : http:activistcash.com/organizations/131_greenpeace/ seing others offices and think-thanck fiduciary. Lobbiyng and friends of deep-ecolos. Salute of France.

Mar 1, 2013 at 2:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterLyse-of-France

Congratulations Pat - you are garning wonderful support from myself and like minded people who can see through the scam that wind energy and climate change is - Pat O'Brien M.Sc Cork Ireland

Mar 1, 2013 at 2:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterPat O'Brien

@peterwalsh
Now you know why the harvesting was stopped.

Mar 1, 2013 at 3:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

It appears that Donna Laframboise should write a new book with the title: The Delinquent Teenager Who Thought He Was An Energy Planner. I bet that the Secretary General and the Director General (see article above) have no record of achievement outside of the subsidized energy sector.

Mar 1, 2013 at 4:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheo Goodwin

There are a number of issues here, which demonstrate that the EU’s renewable energy programme is being driven by a small clique of insiders, operating in blatant defiance of legally binding procedures related to environmental information, environmental assessment and democratic accountability. The results are disastrous, huge financial costs to be carried both by the consumer and the environment and for what? They can’t provide any data to justify it; it is like in the words of Spock, if you believe through renewable energy you ‘will live long and prosper’, then fine. However, if you follow the words of NASA, “in God we trust, but all others provide us with data’, then what is happening is maladministration with a very strong taint of unaccountability and practices, which could be considered as corrupt.

The sums of money involved in the Projects of Common Interest, the subject of this public participation in summer 2012, are simply staggering, running into hundreds of billions of investment. Furthermore, with regard to the electricity sector, essentially all renewable energy related and outside the normal checks and balances of the market economy. With regard to the public participation (Pillar II of the Aarhus Convention) itself, it was on an obscure EU website, so the general public wouldn’t have a clue about it. As the European Court of Justice pointed out in July 2009 in case C-427/07, (Commission V Ireland) in relation to the public’s right to be informed about access to justice provisions (Pillar III of the Aarhus Convention):

“In the absence of any specific statutory or regulatory provision concerning information on the rights thus offered to the public, the mere availability, through publications or on the internet, of rules concerning access to administrative and judicial review procedures and the possibility of access to court decisions cannot be regarded as ensuring, in a sufficiently clear and precise manner, that the public concerned is in a position to be aware of its rights on access to justice in environmental matters”.

So the public essentially knew nothing about this public participation exercise, indeed it was conducted in English, which is a native tongue of less than 70 of the 470 million in the EU-27; a modus operandi for which in 2012 both the EU Parliament and the EU Ombudsman reprimanded the EU Commission. Instead the whole process was ‘handed over’ to the professional lobbyists, who most certainly do not have the interest of the general public at heart. Blatant disenfranchisement occurred.

As regards the lack of environmental information, which is broadly defined in the Aarhus Convention to include energy, cost benefit and other economic analyses and assumptions, one has to put this in the context of the fact that the Convention is legally binding in the EU as a result of Decision 2005/370. The preamble of the Convention states: “Recognizing the importance of fully integrating environmental considerations in governmental decision-making and the consequent need for public authorities to be in possession of accurate, comprehensive and up-to-date environmental information”. Under Article 5 public authorities are required to possess and update environmental information, which is relevant to their function, and ensure that the information is transparent and effectively accessible. This can be seen in Articles 4 and 5 of Aarhus Regulation 1367/2006, which applies the Convention to the Institutions of the EU.

It is not just the public participation in this case, but the EU approved in early 2012 4,000 MW of renewable energy, nearly all wind, for Ireland under the REFIT II scheme without have any environmental information at all. See documentation of the 13.03.2012 on the UNECE page below:

http://tinyurl.com/9kbgtyv

It is not as if the same position did not occur with the approval of the State Aid (ROCs) in the UK.

So one can take the meticulous approach above or simply read Animal Farm, where the pigs decide and all the animals have to toil building windmills. The only difference now is that the ideology is Green not Red.

Mar 1, 2013 at 5:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterPat Swords

Who currently own the land there? As it will be them who'll be harvesting the taxpayer subsidy.

Mar 1, 2013 at 5:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterAC1

@Pat Swords

Welcome back, Pat. I was beginning to worry about you

As usual, an interesting post

But PLEASE can you update us on the status of your Irish High Court case ?

Mar 1, 2013 at 9:09 PM | Unregistered Commenterianl8888

Land ownership on the island of Ireland differs from that of the UK . The land of England was owned by the gentry who rented most of it to farmers . In Scotland and Ireland the land was awarded to former military officers mainly from England . There landlords rented the land to local farmers and kept their own estates . However the Irish were constantly rebelling , and rose up in 1798 after the American war of independence . Repeated resistance caused the British government to provide money to farmers to buy the land from the landlord s. The farmer then paid back the loan to the government . After independence the new Irish government blocked the payments and kept the money themselves . This led to an economic war which ended when Hitler's intention became clear of Britain wanted irish food . 95 % of Irish land is owned by farmers who use it or lease it to neighbouring farmers . No so in England , where the gentry sold out to banks and investment houses . Most English farmers hold land on a 16 year lease .

Mar 1, 2013 at 10:35 PM | Unregistered Commentervalamhic

Well Val the English farmers seem to be resisting these turbines to great effect. Many Irish farmers are now selling out.

The E.U claim to have consulted the public on these projects but they have also admitted that there was little or no technical or environmental information to consult with.

Therefore their claim of consultation is void.

In the letter to me the Secretary General promises that once these projects make it onto the approved list they will then seek compliance with Aahrus and Lisbon, this is laughable giving the track record to date.

Looking at the scale of the Greenwire midlands IE/UK wind export project (E156) they will never prove a cost benefit nor a health/environmental risk that is negligible. But it sure is going to be fun watching them try. I can't wait. It's going to be like watching a Benny Hill episode for the first time.

Here in the Irish midlands local groups are forming ( thanks to Val), local papers and radio stations are covering the project in a critical light and people are talking to local councillors TD,S and now MEP'S.

Meanwhile Pat Swords is in Waterloo by himself waiting for everyone else to arrive as he knows where this will be fought and won.

The true measure of a man is the height of his ideals, the breadth of his sympathy, the depth of his convictions, and the length of his patience.~ Author Unknow

Cheers Pat.

Mar 1, 2013 at 11:37 PM | Unregistered Commenterjoe caulfield

There is currently 7 or 8 applications for a 1 GW power cable to transfer renewable energy from Ireland to the UK. The main thing that will scupper any deal will be which country will claim the power generation as part of the CO2 emission reduction targets, and where the subsidies will be sourced. There is a very real possibility of Irish wind turbines receiving subsidies paid for from British electricity bills, to meet the British Climate Change Act commitments. The cost of the cable under the Irish Sea will be hugely expensive, and a likely compromise will be that the countries will share the CO2 "savings".

Mar 2, 2013 at 12:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterDonald McDonald

IanI8888

The 13th March is the day set for the hearing in the Irish High Court. The State is claiming undue delay. Essentially under Article 4 of Directive 2009/28/EC (20% renewables by 2020), Member States were required to adopt a National Renewable Energy Action Plan and notify it to the Commission by the 30th June 2010. To comply with both Irish and EU law, to adopt a plan of this nature one has to first progress by completing a Strategic Environmental Assessment and associated public participation. Only then can one legally 'adopt'. This did not happen in Ireland or the other Member States, as it was all rushed through - the UK included.

Under Irish law at the time (2010), one had six months to bring in a Judicial Review. This is now three months, but can be extended in special cases. However, the situation in Ireland was highly complex to say the least. While the Convention was part of EU law and the other 26 Member States had ratified it, Ireland not only refused to ratify it, but also refused to bring in the necessary access to justice provisions associated with it, even though they were part of a specific Directive (2003/35/EC) and as such applied directly to administrative decisions related to the Environmental Impact Assessment of projects and pollution control permits.

An organic farmer in the West of Ireland, Volkmar Klohn (a German national), who faced with a completely unsuitable development adjacent to him and completely dubious planning, brought a legal challenge to the High Court. Proper order too, but Ireland doesn't do rules like Germany. He was seriously messed around by the Court, who then dumped €86,000 of the State's legal costs on to him. The High Court judge said that the terms of the Convention, in particular the Right to legal procedures, which are fair, equitable, timely and not prohibitively expensive (both in the Convention and EU law) didn't apply as the Irish parliament hadn't ratified it, so it had no Constitutional effect. At the same time the EU was giving commitments to UNECE, which are in writing, that even though the Convention had not been ratified by Ireland, it applied to Community legal order in Ireland.

Despite Ireland losing the case the Commission took against it with regard to access to justice, referred to earlier C-427/07, Ireland still refuses to ensure that access to justice provisions are 'not prohibitively expensive'. The Commission is once again initiating formal proceedings against Ireland in this regard.

For me back in 2010, if I had brought a legal case against the State for riding roughshod over the democratic procedures associated with the renewable programme, I would have no doubt have been 'shafted' just like Volkmar Klohn, as I could not have relied on the provisions of the Convention. Neither could I have taken a case against Ireland at the UNECE Compliance Committee, as Ireland had not ratified. So I took the UNECE case, a more complex one, against the EU instead. This had the result that the Compliance Committee found in my favour and the EU took the blame for Ireland's sins (not that they were innocent either).

Ireland eventually ratified the Convention this summer and it took effect this autumn (me thinks they got a kick or two from their fall guy the EU). So the first opportunity I could have relied on under the Irish legal system to take a case in relation to the Convention was really this autumn, which corresponded to the time I took the ruling of the Compliance Committee and went in for the Judicial Review in the Irish High Court. The Irish State is refusing to recognise the findings and recommendations of the UNECE legal Committee; they are stating things like that the ruling was directed to the EU and not them, even though they were officially represented at the Compliance Committee meeting in September 2011 in Geneva and engaged throughout the process. They are also seeking costs against me - so much for my right to 'not prohibitively expensive'.

The State's position is that once the window to take a Judicial Review passed in late 2010, they then have full legitimacy to continue, everything else is irrelevant. So really the issue to be addressed on the 13th March is not anything to do with the technology or the plan, but the status of Irish law. Does it have supremacy over Community law and the International Treaties the EU has entered into, such as the Aarhus human and environmental rights Convention with the UN? Where do my rights as a citizen lie with regard to access to justice, such as defined by the Irish Constitution, the Treaty of Lisbon's Charter of Fundamental Rights (entered into force Dec 2009), not to mention the European Charter of Human Rights. One could also mention common law fairness.

So there is a lot riding on the 13th. One the one side there are projects, which as we know are completely unsuitable, but amount to €10 billion plus plus in capital investment. On the other side is the citizen's right to be properly informed, to participate in the decision making and to have access to justice. Rights, which theoretically were meant to exist, but in practice were systematically denied. Then finally, there are the findings and recommendations of the legal tribunal at the UN, to which the EU has ratified an International Treaty with and as such has defined obligations to respect those human and environmental rights.

Mar 2, 2013 at 1:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterPat Swords

Apparently we signed up to this in January:

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/55b02510-6625-11e2-bb67-00144feab49a.html

Mar 2, 2013 at 8:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterDave K

@Pat Swords

Thank you very much for your post. I had been aware of the various arguments but not the current live status

In summary (my words), the Irish Govt is arguing that you had your chance in 2010 but because the Treaty had not been ratified by the Govt then you had no right to be heard

Now that ratification has occurred two+ years later, precedent is set and it is too late for you to be heard ... and if you are, the costs will bankrupt you if the Govt can make that happen !

Although I'm an Aus, my wife is from Cork and I have uncounted in-laws in Cork and Dublin whom I've met many times. All of us understand the Irish "joke" culture - eg. "contra bus lanes" in Dublin (how exhilarating they are to confront unexpectedly !)

If I've summarised the situation correctly, Catch22/Monty Python/Father Ted with malice. I admire your courage and persistence. If you are successful, I will do my best to see that the principles are used here in Aus as a very pointed spear in our own Govt's side

Mar 2, 2013 at 11:21 PM | Unregistered Commenterianl8888

@ianI8888

Yes you have summed up the Government's take on it alright and what they want to do. I spent something like seven months in the Ukraine before the Orange Revolution in 2003 and my work experience has taken me to places which would not be exactly renown for the behaviour of those in power. Is there a lot of difference to the Western World? For most people not really, after all here in the Western World one can talk about it, read about it, watch it, write about it, even campaign about it, but in reality the decisions are taken behind closed doors without any involvement of the citizen. You have only an appearance of being involved in the decision making because you are discussing it. There is actually no structure to the decision making and they make sure you don't have a look in.

In a totalitarian state, you just don't do so much discussing, but for the overwhelming majority life just goes on as usual, same as in the Western World. Then there are those who are of the somewhat more 'unreasonable' disposition, who have other ideas and potentially the means to articulate and progress them. So they are quickly taken out and repressed by the regime, but the regime does not 'take it out' on the overwhelming majority of the population - it doesn't have to.

So too in Ireland, the Irish culture is not to challenge authority, you embarrass Irish people by making a fuss; you might upset somebody. If there wasn't such an unholy mess being left behind, it would be quite amusing, such as how Dermot Morgan present it in Father Ted (although he had to go to a UK TV station to do so). In Ireland 15 Ministers in the Cabinet reign supreme, the parliament has never in its history challenged them, while the Civil Service bends over backwards and as required by-passes the law to do their wishes. One would think that actually these Cabinet Ministers are cracking the whip, but that is not so. They don't have to - there is a culture of total deference and absolute patronage.

For instance regional planners will distort things and knowingly by-pass procedures, not because they are forced to do so, but because they are culturally deferential and want to be seen to be pleasing the superiors. This may sound daft, but it is the reality. Civil servants in Ireland essentially can't be fired, so this gives them independence to make their own decisions - they don't. In a recent planning permission in Co. Donegal, a Submission was made pointing out the very substantial legal failing, which were associated with the National wind energy programme. The planners ignored this, failed to complete their own environmental assessment of the proposal, as required by both Irish and EU law, and in response to the Submission, stated that any perceived failings of National and EU programmes was immaterial to the decision and the person concerned should go to the Courts to get those resolved. In other words, even when you provide the evidence and the rulings that National and EU programmes are legally non-compliant, and this is the second time this has happened (previously Co. Kilkenny), there is a total and absolute refusal to accept that what comes from on high is not kosher - they have their Gods and they cannot be questioned.

So it is a real banana republic here and it is getting worse, which is why all the young Irish are pouring down to Oz - can't blame them.

As far as my case on the 13th, Directive 2009/28/EC on the 20% renewable energy programme, see below, states in Recital (90):

http://tinyurl.com/bzsw8w6

"The implementation of this Directive should reflect, where relevant, the provisions of the Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters, in particular as implemented through Directive 2003/4/EC of the Euro­pean Parliament and of the Council of 28 January 2003on public access to environmental information".

So our guys in the Irish administration by-passed this, as they serve their 'Gods' in the EU and the Ministers office. So they got caught out and the EU took the rap for them in the UNECE Compliance Committee. Now they are using Irish taxpayers' money to defend themselves and try and get out on a technicality, while at the same time blatantly subverting the Rights of the same taxpayers to be informed of the facts, to be provided with the opportunity to participate in the decisions around them and as necessary to challenge the acts and omissions in the Courts.

So is Ireland a totalitarian state? You can make comedy shows about it,so perhaps it is not totalitarian, but it is not a place to invest one's time, effort or money, unless you are already 'in' and part of the inner circle. However, this is now known internationally, as the Irish Academy of Engineering pointed out in their Submission to the Parliamentary Committee back in 2010, see below:

http://tinyurl.com/a66ak6d

"The permitting of the Corrib Gas Field has been little short of a nightmare for its promoters and the country has been very badly served by the processes employed in permitting this critical piece of Irish infrastructure. When during the year the Chairman of Statoil publicly referred to the “political risk” of doing business in Ireland his comments would have been perceived by the international investment community as a major barrier to investment in Ireland. Political risk is what the oil industry normally associates with countries like Nigeria or Angola".

Since then things have got worse not better.

So to sign off on this - one of the things that amazes me about the culture here in Ireland and how differential it is, is that in the overwhelming amount of cases when you raise these issues with Irish people, the instant reaction is a lecture on how worse it is elsewhere. The reality is that; (a) most of them know little about elsewhere other than what the Irish media has 'tuned them into' and; (b) elsewhere is completely irrelevant - people are not going to stick around where they are treated as second class citizens and that has to be sorted out.

Mar 3, 2013 at 12:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterPat Swords

Pat, firstly I dips me lid to you. It is this kind of quiet persistence - like Steve McIntyre's - that slowly but surely erodes the base of tyranny. People like you, who refuse to go away, are their worst nightmare. You can't be bought, you can't be cajoled, you can't be intimidated.

Your comments on Irish culture are interesting. One of my favourite books is "The Straight and Narrow Path", by Honor Tracy, published in the 1950s. It takes its title from a fragment of an Irish sermon: "What we have to do, my dear brethren, is stay on the straight and narrow path between right and wrong." It is a brilliantly funny story about an English academic who accidentally gets mixed up in local and Catholic politics. Time and time again, things are smoothed over or covered up to preserve the good name of the Church, Irish justice or community cohesion.

Tracy does not do a hatchet job on Catholic Ireland in the book - indeed, the Englishman falls under the spell - but she superbly and hilariously dissects and demonstrates the phenomenon you have described.

Very best wishes from Down Under.

Mar 3, 2013 at 1:50 AM | Registered Commenterjohanna

@Pat Swords

And this from the people who over centuries doggedly and eventually turfed the British out. Very sad

On a very writ-small scale, my wife and I were in Dublin about 4 months ago staying with her sister's family. I was astonished at the minute detail of how my sister-in-law had to separate their household garbage into about 10 different small piles before putting it out for collection. She had completely accepted this. I thought then that the Irish had lost their sovereignty

Most of my nephews are now working in Oz - one as highly placed engineer in mining construction. I do very much hope your efforts will force a change in culture

Mar 3, 2013 at 1:56 AM | Unregistered Commenterianl8888

@pat
I was very impressed with your informative presentation in Ballyroan on Monday night last.It has put flesh in the form of fact on a skeleton that I've had a feeling about from dealing with Eirgrid on a local issue in rural co.laois. Our experience has been quite eye-opening. When we (a concerned group of locals, farmers, a builder, shopkeeper, blinds fitter-ordinary people), lobbied our local Councillors to put a sensible clause in the laois county development plan that stated "all 400kva power lines must be put underground", it was unanimously adopted. The first county in the country to adopt such a pro- sustainable jobs, pro enviromental plan. Less than a week later, it was removed. The reason given, on legal advice provided by the county manager, the county plan could be challenged by judicial review, and if successfully challenged, the individual councilors were personally responsible, and as such will be liable to personally pay the costs of the high court (100's of 1000's). The councilors backed down. When we did a little research, it turns out the firm of solicitors have in the past represented Eirgrid...the ones who totally oppose undergrounding high voltage power lines. They are currently seeking planning permission for a massive substation in rural Laois, claiming it is to bring more power to Kilkenny, but really it's all tied up with this mad cap plan to build thousans of monster turbines in the midlands.More information on this can be sourced from "save ratheniska" on facebook. We're trying to fight this madness on a shoestring and on a part time basis. Also, on the point of culture, i totally agree with earlier posters. My experience is this...many local people say to me when i ask for support or try to inform them on the subject " ah sure there's big money behind that that, ye're wasting yer time, they'll do what they like and you won't stop them".. It's enough to make a pope kick a hole in a stain-glass window!!

Mar 8, 2013 at 2:32 PM | Unregistered Commenterrubyscooby

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