Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A Scene Worthy Of Father Ted

From Yesterday's Irish Times:

First unmanned service station opens

The State’s first card-operated service station for the public has opened on the Aran Islands.

The Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Éamon Ó Cuív officially unveiled the facility on Inis Mór, which has one tank earmarked for biofuels.

It is the latest landmark initiative to be rolled out on the off-shore islands after last March’s launch of an electric bus.

Mr Ó Cuív also turned the sod on the island’s €40 million new port project, the single biggest investment in the islands in the country’s history.

“We are all aware of the challenges posed by climate change, and the need to find more sustainable energy sources and practices,” said Mr Ó Cuív.

“My Department has been working closely with Sustainable Energy Ireland over the past year and Terms of Reference have been drafted for a major energy needs survey of the islands, using the Aran Islands as a pilot, aimed eventually at developing strategies that will reduce dependence on fossil fuels.

“The station provides the islanders with diesel at present and I believe that one tank has been earmarked for biofuels, for when they become commercially viable on the island.”

The station will be unmanned and members of the public will be able to refuel and pay at pumps using special cards, details of which have yet to be revealed.

It's hard to find words for the stupidity of all this:

  1. There's nothing even remotely exciting about the concept of an unmanned gas station. From my own personal experience both the US and Switzerland have pumps that are credit card operated.
  2. Biofuels went from being 'the next big thing' to 'bad news' in the space of a couple of months when the implications of growing fuel instead of food became apparent.
  3. But that's OK, because the station doesn't actually have any Biofuels...
  4. ..and if it did it couldn't sell them because the inventor of this scheme hasn't got round to doing the 'special cards' and clearly hasn't heard of Visa or Mastercard.
So what actually happened was the Minister traveled to the Aran Islands to bless a tank of Diesel that nobody can buy...

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Why are the media ignoring the lack of a plan 'B'?

It's nearly a week after the referendum and it's taken until now for someone, somewhere to state the blindingly obvious - A 'No' vote was always a possible outcome and for the political classes to say they didn't anticipate it is just unacceptable.

I sent a letter to the IT on this but they didn't publish - presumably because watching the pro- and anti- sides beat each other up is much more fun than pointing out that the nations entire political and media elite failed to see this coming....

If Mr. Cowen really doesn't know what to do in the face of this entirely predictable crisis he might want to reconsider his career as a political leader. His public pronouncement that he has no idea has made the situation much, much worse by handing the political initiative to a freak show of nineteenth century nationalists, single issue obsessives and other unelectables. If this is the quality of leadership we can expect in the face of a predictable event what can we expect when faced with a real crisis such as a flu pandemic?