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Taking the fast track to nowhere

category national | environment | opinion/analysis author Saturday October 16, 2010 21:22author by Luke Eastwoodauthor email lukejeastwood at gmail dot com

Typical short-sightedness on the part of the government is leading to Ireland falling behind rather than making positive developments for our future...

In its desperate attempts save money our government seems to be taking backward steps instead of moving forward in a progressive way that will prepare the country for inevitable changes. In the last few weeks Iíve become aware of moves to cut the countryís forestry investment, a short sighted move that may save money in the short term but will have long term repercussions for Ireland. Instead of trying to emulate countries like Finland that have a successful and sustainable forestry industry, the government has opted to starve the fledgling forestry industry of funds, which will mean that forestry and spin-off industries like bio-mass energy will be negatively affected.

In addition to this the government has axed the subsidy on E85 which has in turn led to the main forecourt seller (Maxol) withdrawing from the market. Having invested heavily in this fuel, which is taking off in other European countries, I imagine that Maxol and Emo (the other main seller) are rightly furious with the government. The knock on effect of this is that suppliers of conversion kits will go out of business, those who have converted their cars or own the new flexi-fuel cars will most likely have to return to using petrol. In addition to this, the Irish E85 producers that make it from whey (a by-product from Irish cheese making) will either have to find export markets for their E85 or go out of business. Further bad news is that as a result of this decision the government will struggle to hit its EU targets for biofuel usage, petrol usage reduction and hence pollution will increase and tax revenue from E85 related business will undoubtedly drop off.

This is a typical case of the mouth saying one thing and the hands doing something completely different. The government has made a commitment to protecting the environment and steps towards preparing the country for the transition into a post-oil global economy, however the reality is very different from the hyperbole.

This recent debacle reminds me of Bertie Ahernís promises of a vibrant Ireland on the leading edge of technology - this promise was never delivered on and in reality Ireland is still a bit of a joke in comparison the rest of Europe. What technological investment that has been made here was mostly from outside and has been quick to leave again as cheaper options appeared on the horizon. What was needed was home grown investment, home grown R&D and utilization of Irelandís educated and innovative people.

Ireland was bypassed by the industrial revolution, through no fault of its own, but it has never really tried to catch up in the way other countries around the world have done. Ireland missed the rise of the automotive industry, it has failed to capitalize on itís agriculture industry in the way that the Netherlands has done, or forestry as the Scandinavians have done, it failed to become the European IT Hub and with the current fools at the helm it will fail to become a leading light in the emerging green energy and biotechnology industries.

Ireland is not lacking in resources, even if it is lacking a large population or large budgets. Other small countries have succeeded in developing niche markets and areas of specialization so why canít Ireland do so? I believe it is a question of leadership Ė our government (and most of the opposition) looks after itself and its business friends; it has no vision and no real interest in the long-term future of its citizens. What Ireland needs is a revolution in thinking that goes beyond the tired political dynamic that still lingers from the beginnings of the Irish republic. We need new people, political reform and perhaps new political parties; without a major shift that encourages innovation and vision to prosper then our best and brightest will continue to leave and the country will accelerate on its current course Ė the fast track to nowhere.

Comments (2 of 2)

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author by V for vendettapublication date Sat Oct 16, 2010 21:59author address author phone

Not surprising really.

Pushing out fringe outsider competition (maxol / Bupa etc)
More Profit for their friends in shell etc
Stealth privatisation of forestry.
Private wireless internet providers taking up the slack providing substandard overpriced services
Water privatisation
Health privatisation
Road tolls and PPP's

It's pretty systematic when you look at the whole picture

Trees are probably our last remaining natural resource that hasn't been completely stolen by FF's friends yet so I suggest people keep a VERY close eye on coillte. Those FF fuckers will find a way to feather their nests by completely privatising all our remaining trees before they get kicked out in the next election. mark my words

This Government and the PD's had / have a systematic policy of opening up public services to privatisation by a process of running down the state service to the point of no return by underfunding / deliberate mismanagement then saying "too much money is required to make it work again and we now have no money. lets bring in private operators" or "private companies are more efficient" etc etc.

How else can you explain Mary harney for instance, or the whole shell rossport ray burke bertie fiasco

I suspect behind all this is a layer of international corporate / political corruption no tribunal will ever bring to light

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Mon Oct 25, 2010 15:21author address author phone

Naomi Klein does a fairly professional job of dragging the rats out into the light in her 'Shock Doctrine' account of the predations of the Chicago Boys school of Freidman ekkkonomix, from Latin America to Indonesia over the last half century or so.Same operation, different banana.

Our banana is green so we feel, as Jimmy Connolly said, its Oirish.


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