General elections are an important part of our democratic structure, they offer us, the people, our chance to influence policy decisions and choices for the next five years, as well as selecting those who represent us in Dáil Eireann. Sadly most politicians are professionally trained in the art of spinning, their own or, their party’s policy position on certain matters and as the picture above reinforces you might not be fully aware of the party/candidate position from a response to a single question.
In order to help our readers navigate the Donegal GE16 candidates wind farm positions we are currently contacting, in writing, each candidate/party offering them a 750 word guest blog post, once they answer five questions on wind farms for us.
We shall publish responses received, on the morning of 15 February,
to date, beginning late next week (11 Feb onwards) and thereafter once the candidate/party respond, if we have no response by 15 February we shall publish what we understand to be the position of the candidate. So check back to this page in the next few weeks for updated details on the party and candidate positions.
The candidates are (click on the link to see answers provided):
Fine Gael: Paddy Harte (FG), Joe McHugh TD (FG)
Green Party: Paula Flanagan (GP)
Independent: Tim Jackson (Ind), Cllr Frank McBrearty Jnr (Ind), Cllr Ian McGarvey (Ind), Thomas Pringle TD (Ind), Cllr Dessie Shiels (Ind)
Independent Alliance: Cllr Niamh Kennedy (Ind All.)
The questions are tailored to each party/candidate and are set out below:
- Do you, or your family members, own/direct or otherwise have a pecuniary interest in a wind farm or related company? If so please detail.
- Have you ever attended a pre-planning meeting between a local authority and wind farm promoter? If yes, please detail and advise why?
- How close to a wind farm would you live? For this question assume a wind farm of 5 turbines each 125m height and select from the options (i) doesn’t matter next door is fine; (ii) must be at least 500m away; (iii) must be at least 750m away; (iv) must be at least 1km away; (v) must be at least 1.25km away; or (vi) must be at least 2km away.
- Tailored to a party/candidate grouping and include:
- Fianna Fail: Do you support the Fianna Fail party policy on wind? https://www.fiannafail.ie/download/rural-ireland/Wind%20Policy.pdf, if not, why not and what steps have you taken to address these issues.
- Fine Gael: During the current Dáil term Fine Gael TDs have failed to speak out against flawed wind energy guidelines, and merely turn up smiling to wind farm events/openings – this is even evidenced in the FG Plan and the new charter for rural Ireland which both ignore the wind farm issue: Why do you ignore local anti-wind farm sentiment?
- Independent – Pringle: Can you clarify your call for a moratorium on wind farms? (i.e. the moratorium should remain in place until?) and can you advise whether your position on wind farms is contradicted by the Right2Change principles in relation to (i) Right2SustainableEnvironment and (ii) Right2NationalResources?
- Independent Alliance – Kennedy: Can you clarify your stance against wind farms, why this seemingly sudden change? e.g. why is there no mention of your wind farm position in the Independent Alliance media pack?
- Sinn Féin: The Sinn Féin position on wind farms seems to be contradictory where on the one hand the party supports wind energy the myth of community gain in reports, at successive ardfheiseanna yet the party introduced the Wind Turbine Regulation Bill seeking in part to regulate the industry. Can you advise how this obvious dissonance would be resolved if Sinn Féin were in power?
- Others: asked general questions in relation to their stance on wind farms, if elected representative, question is linked to any Council business, meeting, if not previously elected question relates to public comments.
- If elected will you support Donegal County Councillors variation no.2 on wind farm planning and make your support of or participation in a government conditional on the Minister for Environment dropping his opposition to variation no.2 and withdrawing his section 31 direction? This can be achieved if the Minister withdraws opposition to the high court case: Campbell -v- Minister for the Environment 2014/712 JR which is set for hearing in June 2016. If not, why not?
If you are a candidate and we haven’t been in touch yet, we shall be soon or you can e-mail us at email@example.com or contact us via twitter: @CAWT_Donegal
Last updated: 6 February 2016