Mooney, Friday August 15th 2014
The Big Wind Debate!
Nature, as we all know, is a powerful force. And we have learned, as a species, that our best bet is to try to harvest the forces of nature, for our own benefit.
Of all of the forces of nature, man has embraced wind energy to great effect for many thousands of years. From the earliest known sailing boats, around 5000 years ago, to the very first wind wheel, apparently developed by the Greek engineer Heron of Alexandria in the first century AD.
Heron's Wind Wheel
In more recent history, we know that windmills have provided a practical source of power in traditional agriculture. Indeed, the word "windmill" derives from the fact that those familiar wind sails, dotting the European landscape, were primarily used for milling grain, for food production.
The Dutch went on to develop wind technology further, using the power of windmills to pump seawater over levees, and reclaim vast amounts of land from the sea. And to this day, those windmills are a treasured part of the Dutch landscape.
Well, closer to home...
For the last two decades so, the rotating blades of wind turbines have become a familiar sight across the Irish landscape. But whether they are treasured or not by the Irish public is still a matter of some debate.
And that's exactly what we are doing today! Debating the place of wind power in Ireland, and our attitudes to it...
So what about the people who live in close proximity to windfarms? What's their perspective? How do they feel about these giants becoming an inescapable part of their landscape?
Earlier today, Mooney producer Fergus Sweeney travelled to Wexford, to the town of Bunclody, which is earning the nickname "the windy city", because of the increasing prevalence of wind turbines in the local environment. We hear their views on the turbines...
And Derek has a full panel in studio today. In addition to Mooney Goes Wild regulars Eanna ni Lamhna and Dr. Richard Collins, Derek is also joined by Paula Byrne (PRO of Wind Aware Ireland), Kevin O'Rourke (Head of Low Carbon Technologies Unit at the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland), Dr. Michael Connolly (Environmental Consultant and former lecturer who opposes wind farms) and Kenneth Matthews (CEO of the Irish Wind Energy Association).
The two reports that Derek referred to are Dr. Michael Connolly's Yellow River Wind Farm Assessment of Environmental Impact Statement, and SEAI's Quantifying Ireland’s Fuel and CO2 Emissions Savings from Renewable Electricity in 2012.
Mooney's Singers In The Shower
The winner of MOONEY's Singing in the Shower competition will get a Voucher from TileStyle worth €2500.
TileStyle is a one stop shop, offering a vast selection of high quality Bathrooms, Tiles, Stone, Wood Flooring and Paint. TileStyle is open 7 days a week and is conveniently located just off the M50 at Exit10. Their highly trained team is available to offer any advice or assistance you might need. Meet them here or drop into the stunning showroom. To find out more visit www.tilestyle.ie
To enter, all you have to do is make an audio recording of yourself singing in the shower. (If you do this during your daily wash you will not waste water).
Send your audio recording, not to exceed one minute in duration, along with your name and contact number to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please do not send recordings of original compositions. Click here to read terms and conditions for RTÉ.ie and click here to read competition terms and conditions.
Entry to the competition confirms your acceptance of these terms and conditions.
The prize for Ireland's Best Singer in the Shower, as decided by our panel of judges, will be announced on Mooney. The judges' decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
Please note that if you submit a recording, RTÉ reserve the right to use this material as it sees fit in accordance with the terms and conditions for rté.ie.
Hedgerows: It is an offence to 'cut, grub, burn or otherwise destroy hedgerows on uncultivated land during the nesting season from 1 March to 31 August, subject to certain exceptions'. For more information, click here.
UPDATE: February 29th 2016 - Press Release From BirdWatch Ireland:
Putting the record straight: Dates for burning and hedge-cutting have NOT changed
BirdWatch Ireland, Ireland’s largest conservation charity, is very concerned about misinformation that is currently circulating regarding the dates within which the burning of vegetation and cutting of hedges is permitted. It would like to remind landowners that all burning and cutting must cease on 29th February this year and that burning and cutting remains prohibited from 1st March to 31st August.
Despite attempts by the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys T.D., to change the laws regulating these dates by introducing the Heritage Bill 2016 earlier this year, it is important to note that the proposed date changes were ultimately NOT made. This is because the bill failed to pass through both houses of the Oireachtas before the recent dissolution of the Dáil in advance of the general election.
The laws in place governing the dates for hedge-cutting and upland burning therefore remain unchanged. The period within which cutting and burning is prohibited are set down in Section 40 of the Wildlife Act 1976 (as amended in 2000), which states that:
(a) It shall be an offence for a person to cut, grub, burn or otherwise destroy, during the period beginning on the 1st day of March and ending on the 31st day of August in any year, any vegetation growing on any land not then cultivated.
(b) It shall be an offence for a person to cut, grub, burn or otherwise destroy any vegetation growing in any hedge or ditch during the period mentioned in paragraph (a) of this subsection (above).
The existing law provides exemptions for road safety and other circumstances and should be read carefully to ensure compliance.
Section 40 of the Wildlife Act exists to protect nesting birds. Many of our upland bird species are in decline and are in danger of extinction in Ireland; amongst them is the Curlew, which has declined by 80%. Many birds which nest in hedgerows into August are also in serious decline, including the endangered Yellowhammer. The changes to the cutting and burning dates which had been proposed in the now-defunct Heritage Bill 2016 would have caused serious impacts to these birds. A petition launched by BirdWatch Ireland in conjunction with several other national conservation organisations to stop these changes attracted more than 16,200 signatures and rising.
BirdWatch Ireland would also like to advise members of the public that if they see hedges being cut or fires in the uplands on or after 1st March, such activity could be illegal. In such cases, we would encourage people to contact the National Parks and Wildlife Service (www.npws.ie) to report such activity.
BirdWatch Ireland warmly welcomes the demise of the Heritage Bill 2016 and sincerely hopes that any future administration will consider the importance of Ireland’s natural heritage and will not attempt to reintroduce such a flawed and damaging piece of legislation.
To contact your local wildlife ranger, click here for contact details. To read the Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2000, click here.
Please DO NOT send any live, dead or skeletal remains of any creature whatsoever to Mooney Goes Wild.
If you find an injured animal or bird, please contact the National Parks & Wildlife Service on 1890 20 20 21, or BirdWatch Ireland, on 01 281-9878, or visit www.irishwildlifematters.ie