ME: Hi Danny, thanks for taking the time to talk to me. First question I’d like to ask you is how did you first get become interested in green issues?
DF: Well, as a child I was always interested in nature and the environment but I guess all kids are. They’re hot-wired to have this natural curiosity in everything around them and it depends how that fascination gets nurtured as we grow up. Mine was encouraged. When I was growing up in Wexford there was the Anti Nuclear Rally that took place in Carnsore Point, here on our very doorstep. That was a real introduction into the world of green politics.
ME: Sure Danny, you must’ve been a toddler..that was in 1979……
DF: Well the rally turned into a national festival which took place for 3 years running…but yes….I was very young……
ME: The rally was a protest against the Fianna Fail government’s plans to build four nuclear power stations at Carnsore Point in Co. Wexford. I have a vague memory of a lot of interesting hippie folk in town around that time. I too was…ahem….very, very young…..
DF: That’s right and what started as a protest turned into a huge national gathering of like-minded individuals all exchanging ideas. Around 5000 people I believe, camping on the proposed site. There were three or four days of workshops, even music from the likes of Christy Moore. I remember a great feeling of camaraderie. I met loads of interesting people. I saw my first PV panel- it was being used to power a radio and I met a member of Green Party who had his own wind turbine. And remember, this was the late 70’s! It was a real coming of age thing for me. For the first time it dawned on me that there are other, better ways to create energy. The best thing about the whole thing was that the protest actually changed the course of politics and any plans for nuclear power in Ireland were dropped.
Later, on my travels in North America I worked as a commercial fisherman in Alaska and the North pacific where I witnessed first hand the huge devastation caused by bottom trawling. It destroys marine eco systems and the sea bed which in turn has drastic implications for the environment. All in all it opened my eyes to what was happening around us every day.
ME: Have you any advice for us Wexford people wanting to change policy for the better of the environment on a local level? How should we go about it exactly?
DF: Be proactive and write letters. The best thing Wexford people can do is to read the Draft County Development Plan. It’s available online or to view at the County Hall. The council invite submissions and observations with respect to the Draft Plan from members of the public and interested parties to be made to the Planning Authority before 4.30pm on Monday 20th August 2012.
ME: So we only have a few weeks to read the Draft plan and compile our comments for consideration.
DF: That’s right. However it’s important that these views are in written form and they must be coherent and well presented. All suggestions must be backed up with reliable research and sent either to a local council representative or the county council. If these criteria are adopted then the submission will be considered before the making of the actual plan.
ME: That’s very useful to know. Last question: What would you say to people wanting to live a greener lifestyle?
DF: I would have to say look at your shopping list. Buy local produce in season. For example, rapeseed oil can be used instead of olive oil. It’s produced in Ireland. Aside from the smaller carbon footprint involved there are other obvious advantages in that any money generated in this country trickles down to our local economy. If you can try to change one item a month on your shopping list to a local product in season then it would be a start. Also people should compare their wants with their needs when shopping. Do they really need that plastic wrapped item covered in pesticides, that has been shipped half way across the world? Everyone can take small steps. It all adds up.
ME: Anything else you want to share?
DF: Yes, the Green party are excited to be involved in the second Carnsore Summer School, organised by the Green European Foundation working with Green Foundation Ireland. It takes place on September 7 to 9, 2012 and promises to be an exciting weekend. As well as addressing serious environmental issues through talks and debates with international speakers there will be a music, film and general craic.
ME: That’s one to pencil into the diary. Thanks so much Danny. It’s been a pleasure. The only thing left to do is give out Danny’s details: