15th Janaury 2014
By Bryan Smyth
The idea of attacking a Government policy, or some national plan, is commonplace for an aspiring politician who wants their name in the headlines. When the candidate is from an opposition party we expect nothing less, but what happens when a sitting politician wants headlines? and they start attacking an idea that is backed by their own party?
If one is so opposed to a policy surely one should resign from a party in protest?
Sinn Féin’s EU candidate for the constituency of Ireland South, Liadh Ní Riada from Ballyvourney, Co Cork has stated that Labour party Mep, Phil Prendergast, “cannot have it both ways” on EirGrid.
Ms Ní Riada was responding to comments made by Prendergast in which she likened the building of pylons to the “rape of the countryside”.
She also voiced her strong concerns regarding health risks associated with pylons.
Ní Riada said:
“I appreciate the Labour Party MEP’s concerns even if her language was designed to grab headlines. However, Phil Prendergast cannot have it both ways on EirGrid.
“She is a member of a government party that is pushing these pylons on the people of rural Munster and South Leinster. Perhaps she should be challenging her own party colleagues regarding their stance on EirGrid rather than seeking headlines.
“Pat Rabbitte has been the main government cheerleader for the EirGrid proposal.
“Minister Rabbitte said, as far as he is concerned, that there were no health concerns regarding the building of pylons. He added that a national agency of government, such as EirGrid, has no vested interest in exposing people to risk.
“This directly contradicts what Health Minister Dr James Reilly said about the issue.
“Expert reports have conclusively shown that high voltage energy lines increase the risk of cancer, particularly for children.
“Nobody trusts Minister Rabbitte on this or any issue given his comments on TV when he said that Labour deliberately told lies during the last election.
“The bottom-line is that Phil Prendergast cannot have it both ways on what is a very serious matter for people in affected communities. It is the height of hypocrisy for her to come out with such statements while failing to challenge her colleagues and party leadership on the matter in any meaningful way.
“She is the part of an organisation that bears a weight of responsibility for all of this. She is at best complicit.
“If she has no confidence in Minister Rabbitte then she should say so. However, if the Minister is misleading people, deliberately or as result of ignorance, he should resign.”