Should the 2012 referendum be expanded to include environmental issues, which are ultimately central to most fiscal policies? Three environmental concerns in particular should be voted on: Yes or No to the 10-year Shell Corrib Gas debacle; Yes or No to fracking, the proposed injection of chemical-laced water and sand into rock to release gas in the Lough Allen and Clare basins; and Yes or No to the Teagasc proposal, (the agriculture and food development authority in Ireland), to introduce genetically modified potatoes into this country.
A definite No vote to all three could radically change existing government policies and all future development.
Why extend our dependence on fossil fuels and continually misspend millions facilitating potentially dangerous exploration for short-term supplies rather than invest in sustainable energies for the future? Likewise, why go down the road of genetically modified, chemically dependent foods rather than taking the organic route?
Quite simply, our Government, like most others, is not prepared to battle huge multinational companies whose money can control research and legislation. What would happen if vehicles no longer depended on oil?
Consumption would drop by 50pc and with it the price of a barrel of oil and therefore the whole interdependence and alliances of governments all over the world.
Natural resources should, of course, be exploited to create public services such as schools and hospitals, where safely possible, but why not use the resources that do not damage the environment?
The monies lost to the public coffers in the Shell to Sea campaign alone would have developed a sustainable wind and wave energy industry here in this country.
M O Gil
Aran Islands, Co Galway
17 March 2012