Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you will know by now that Ireland is experiencing a crippling fuel crisis.
Petrol and diesel costs are at an all-time record high, and continuing to rise sharply on seemingly a weekly basis, seriously hurting families’ quality of life across the country.
In the face of a problem like this, and the associated protests, you’d assume that government politicians like those in the Green Party would see it as their number one priority to ease the burden on ordinary families by lowering fuel prices.
But, of course, you’d be wrong.
If you’re standing up reading this, you might want to sit down and brace yourself. Behold: the most staggeringly out-of-touch tweet in Irish history.
Responding to the truckers’ fuel protest this week, Green councillor Oisín O’Connor said:
“I’m also a person of Ireland against current motor fuel prices – they’re far too low given the climate crisis we’re in.”
Furthermore, he added:
“Once I start noticing that people are switching their engines off when pulled up on footpaths to wait for someone, then I’ll start to believe people who say motor fuel prices are too high.”
Once I start noticing that people are switching their engines off when pulled up on footpaths to wait for someone, then I'll start to believe people who say motor fuel prices are too high.
— Cllr Oisín O'Connor (@OConnorOisin) April 9, 2022
This is consistent with previous comments O’Connor has made, wherein he compared banning cars to banning “fascists,” urging them to be restricted “street by street, town by town”:
“The way you ban cars is the same way you ban fascists. De-prioritise them, make them irrelevant, make it difficult for them to do the shit they want to do. Restrict them street by street, town by town.
If you just flat out ban them, you make martyrs out of them.”
The way you ban cars is the same way you ban fascists. De-prioritise them, make them irrelevant, make it difficult for them to do the shit they want to do. Restrict them street by street, town by town.
If you just flat out ban them, you make martyrs out of them.
— Cllr Oisín O'Connor (@OConnorOisin) February 18, 2020
So, to be clear, as an elected councillor in one of the government parties, this man is paid tens of thousands of euros per year from the public coffers to intentionally make the lives of ordinary citizens more difficult. At a time of unprecedented crisis, all he can think about is “How can we make the costs rise even further?”
Of course, O’Connor would say that this is all for the greater good. He’d explain that without such measures, people’s quality of life will be destroyed by climate change in 10 years. But to prevent this outcome, we apparently should destroy our quality of life in 10 months instead.
O’Connor has also previously admitted that he has “never owned a car and [doesn’t] plan to own one.”
So, to put it another way, the policies he’s advocating for here do not impact him personally in any meaningful way. He is happy to increase costs for, in his own words, “the hundreds of thousands of middle class drivers of Ireland” – but knows his own lifestyle will hardly be affected at all.
Many of those middle class drivers have no choice but to drive. It's one thing to support high tax for an optional activity but driving is a necessity for anyone who doesn't live near a Luas or Dart station. You think people want to pay 1.85 per litre to go to work?
— Colm 🇪🇺🇮🇪 (@colm1762) April 9, 2022
But this attitude, as we know, is commonplace throughout the government coalition, and the Green Party in particular.
Take, for example, the government’s insistence on putting up the carbon tax rate at the end of the month despite the already brutal price hikes at the pumps.
— Irish Times Politics (@IrishTimesPol) April 5, 2022
Take the government’s opposition to liquefied natural gas, even as the energy sector reels from the green policies we’ve already implemented.
— gript (@griptmedia) February 21, 2022
Take Eamon Ryan banning the sale and distribution of turf later this year, effectively overnight. “Just Transition” my eye.
What we ultimately have here, when you put it all together, is a government that is fanatically ideologically-possessed, and wedded to one idea: radical environmentalism.
It is their golden calf. It is their sole goal and aim. They think about it from the moment they wake up to the moment they go to bed. And they evidently don’t care how many people get hurt in pursuing it (or at least, they don’t care enough to change course when they see the negative effects).
"We need radical [carbon] reductions. We need 10% per annum. If I had my way, if there was a one world dictatorship, where we could make that level of ambition and deliver it, then I'd be very happy."
– Eamon Ryan, Wednesday, November 5, 2014, Friends of Europe pic.twitter.com/2c7GZI2hEs
— Ben Scallan 🇮🇪 (@Ben_Scallan) June 4, 2021
They’re willing to accept the collateral of “the hundreds of thousands of middle class drivers of Ireland” becoming substantially poorer, as long as the green goal is achieved.
The politicians from more mainstream parties are even willing to face near total electoral destruction, and risk losing their seats (as many of them surely will in rural areas, if the polls are remotely accurate).
They are on a kamikaze mission, for themselves, and the country at large: a Holy War, in which they will seek to radically reduce Ireland’s CO2 emissions, or see the economy die trying.
At this rate, the latter is looking increasingly likely.