A Sinn Féin Bill which would have prevented wind turbines from being built in nearly all inland areas has been withdrawn from the Oireachtas this week as it clashed with the United Nations Climate Change Conference, a Fine Gael Senator has said.
Almost a year ago, Sinn Féin introduced their Wind Turbine Regulation Bill to the Dáil. It was due to be debated in Leinster House this Thursday.
Senator John McGahon, who is Fine Gael’s Seanad spokesperson on the Climate Committee, said he believes the opposition party pulled the bill from the schedule this week because they were concerned that its ban on wind power would be a bad image for Sinn Féin while the domestic and international news focus is on events in Glasgow.
“The bill from Deputy Brian Stanley is a defacto ban on all onshore wind power. It didn’t come in with the last gale, this is Sinn Féin policy, has been confirmed at their party conferences and has been policy for several years,” Senator McGahon said.
“The bill proposed that there should not be a single house within a distance of ten times the height of the turbine’s blade at its highest point. This onerous condition would for all intents and purposes ban onshore wind in Ireland.
“It also states we wouldn’t trade energy until it is deemed an excess product. This is just a fundamental misunderstanding of how our electricity grid works. It would also likely be in contravention of our European treaties and directives.
“It’s a populist, ill-conceived proposal and is yet another example of Sinn Féin’s weakness on climate. It shows the flaw at the heart of their policies. Populist ideas with no roots in reality.
“Sinn Féin Bill’s will ensure we have higher energy prices as we would have to burn more Russian gas and oil from the Middle-East.
“This Bill undermines Sinn Fein’s claim to support climate action. No doubt for Sinn Fein, a magic wind turbine will deliver renewable energy in the same way their magic money tree will pay for all their promises.
“While Fine Gael, through former Climate Action Minister Richard Bruton and again in the current Oireachtas, have proposed thought-out and planned solutions to help the environment and ensure this country plays our part in tackling climate change, this is what Sinn Féin put before the Dáil. This is the party that purports to have all the answers and this is their policy.
“We need real solutions – not cynical, half-baked gestures,” Senator McGahon said.