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SCALLAN: The government’s addiction to emergency powers

You know that scene in the movie Revenge of the Sith where Emperor Palpatine shoots Samuel L. Jackson with lightning out of his finger tips?

It’s an iconic scene to anyone who knows Star Wars.

While the villain relentlessly zaps his target with dark energy, his face proceeds to become uglier and more deformed, while he screams at the top of his lungs about “UNLIMITED POWER!” like a lunatic. As any well-adjusted person would – you know yourself.

Well that image is a fairly good analogy for the Irish state over the past couple of years, as politicians seem to be grabbing at every kind of emergency power they can get their hands on, and the state is becoming uglier every day because of it.

As reported by the Independent.ie today:

“Minister Eamon Ryan seeks emergency powers to take control of oil supply”

Well now, what could possibly go wrong with giving special control of our oil supply to Eamon “Release The Hounds” Ryan during an energy crisis?

This is, after all, a man who has said that there should be one car to every ten families, and who describes his own policies as “radical” on a regular basis.

He constantly rails against fossil fuels like LNG, even as the power grid teeters on the verge of collapse, and has repeatedly and successfully pushed to end oil and gas exploration in Irish waters. He wants to ensure that at least 80% of known fossil fuel reserves stay in the ground.

So I can’t imagine how giving him control of a key natural resources relating to energy could possibly backfire on us in any way.

Regardless, let’s read on to find out more:

“Environment, Climate and Transport Minister Eamon Ryan will seek to give himself emergency powers to take control of the oil supply in Ireland today. He is bringing a draft Oil Emergency Contingency Bill 2022 to Government, which — in the event of a national crisis only — he would take charge of oil stocks, systems and provision across the country.”

And then we get to the most pertinent bit of all:

“…the draft law would give Mr. Ryan the power to effectively nationalise oil stocks in a national emergency.”

So according to the Independent, if this goes ahead, Ryan – who hates oil – will have the power to nationalise the country’s oil supply, as long as the government believes there is a “crisis” or “emergency” that justifies such action.

The natural question that arises at this point, of course, is to ask what is the definition of an “emergency,” and who gets to decide what qualifies as one?

Eamon Ryan is on record, for example, as labelling the so-called climate crisis an “emergency” which justifies ending oil and gas exploration licences.

In fact, the government officially declared a “climate emergency” in 2019 as part of a Fianna Fáil amendment which passed unanimously among all parties without a vote.

So could we see the State seizing control of the county’s oil supply by force and confiscating it for the sake of “fighting climate change” under a policy like this? Well, who’s to say? Would anything surprise you at this point?

You know, a lot of this “emergency” talk sounds quite familiar, as we had another emergency body relatively recently which also exerted enormous power over society.

I am of course referring to the National Public Health Emergency Team – better known as NPHET.

During the Covid period, for around two years, this group of unelected alleged “experts” and advisors oversaw the government taking upon itself the most outrageous, unheard-of powers imaginable. It was an historic erosion of human, civil and religious rights.

So severe was it, in fact, that Leo Varadkar himself – the architect of the first lockdown – described his own policy as “absolutely bonkers,” “unprecedented” and “draconian.”

And yet even after NPHET effectively admitted that there was no urgent emergency anymore, and that we essentially had to live with the virus, the restrictions continued to drag on for months afterwards regardless.

Despite the fact that it quite evidently did not make sense to continue with the lockdown, government figures like Stephen Donnelly simply refused to give up their newfound emergency powers, repeatedly extending them even despite public protests.

After this, the government seized emergency powers so that they could buy homes for Ukrainian refugees.

And now they want emergency powers to take control of energy as well.

Quite self-evidently, the government has gotten high on their own supply to such an extent now, that they feel they are entitled to take extraordinary powers upon themselves in response to almost any situation – even situations that they helped to create.

After all, think of the energy crisis.

The reason Ireland is in such a dire state as regards energy is specifically because leaders like Eamon Ryan have successfully advocated for closing down viable fossil fuel power stations for years, cutting off Ireland’s energy supply at the knees.

And then, when we’re driven to the brink of rolling blackouts because of his years-long jihad against the national grid, what’s his response?

“I need more powers to deal with this emergency.”

Oh, you mean the emergency you created? That emergency?

Similarly, take Covid as another example.

For years before the pandemic, health experts warned that Ireland had far too few ICU beds to deal with even a normal years’ hospitalisation numbers. The HSE was constantly at breaking point for at least a decade, with people sleeping on trolleys nationwide for years.

And yet when Covid hits and poses a threat to our healthcare system, what is the government response?

“We need more powers to deal with this emergency.”

Again, the emergency in question being one that they created.

And of course housing is the same – Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien stupidly invites an unlimited amount of refugees into a country with a housing crisis, and then when the system is overwhelmed, he gives himself emergency powers to house them all. Are you seeing a pattern here by any chance?

The lesson we should learn from all this is quite simple; if you allow the government to seize power during a crisis, they will create a crisis so they can seize power. And the more power our leaders receive, the more power-mad they become.

What we urgently need in this country, above all else, is a serious political movement to roll back the power of the state and restore some kind of balance to the absolute megalomania we currently face.

 

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