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McDowell hits out at lack of “economic reality” on green policies

Senator Michael McDowell has hit out at the government for a lack of “economic reality” on green policies, and called on Eamon Ryan to clarify his stance on nuclear power.

Speaking in the Dáil today, the Senator explained Ireland’s precarious situation when it came to energy generation and the scaling up of Ireland’s famous data centres.

“Over the weekend we’ve had evidence that the electricity supply board is now installing emergency generating capacity in Dublin docks because of problems and to avoid blackouts in this country,” he said.

“And we are going towards, if this plan is to be implemented and if everyone’s ambitions are to be implemented, towards a society much more dependent on electricity.

“We’ve turned our back on fossil fuels, or we’re trying to. We have limited capacity for hydroelectric generation in this country. Wind power, onshore and offshore, is opposed by interest groups all over the country, and we want to know when that infrastructure is going to be built to a satisfactory situation.

“But, and this is the most crucial thing: side by side, with all of the rhetoric about sustainable energy, we are building these data centres. And one centre, the Apple centre which has recently been revived in Athenry, is, if it’s fully built out, going to account for an increased demand in electricity of 8%. Five of them increases our electricity generation [needs] by 40%.”

McDowell asserted that the government was forced to choose between supporting foreign multinationals and facing “economic reality.”

“There are two schools of thought in government,” he said.

“One is that you cannot fail the multinationals, and you must do what they want. You must build all these data centres because they are the future. And the other is economy reality, in terms of electricity generation.”

Concluding his statements, the Senator hit out at Climate Minister’s Eamon Ryan’s lack of clarity on the issue of nuclear power.

“I’ll just finish with this: Minister Eamon Ryan has said that he is not ruling out nuclear power in this country. If nuclear power is necessary, and it is an essential part of the government implementation plans, we should be told so. And there should be no more hiding behind “I’m not ruling it out” – it’s either in, or it’s out. Let’s hear it.”

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