A Minister for Finance has said the Government would not be attacking people in a “political attack” if they were protesting against a planned nuclear power plant in Ireland.
Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Dermot Ahern said the planned Carmichael plant would “create a great deal of jobs and economic activity”.
Mr Ahern’s comments were made on Friday during a speech in Dublin by the Minister for Energy and Climate Change, Alan Kelly.
He said that the Minister would not criticise people protesting against the Carmichael nuclear power station, as some have.
“I’m not going to criticise anyone that is protesting against this plant,” Mr Kelly said.
Mr Kelly added that he was “absolutely” against nuclear power.
“There are no words to describe the frustration and frustration that I feel at having to deal with the government that we have a Minister of Energy who’s saying things like this,” Mr Aldern said.
“It’s just completely unacceptable.”
Mr Kelly responded to Mr Aileenan’s comments, saying: “It is a completely inappropriate, inappropriate thing to do.”
The Minister has also said that he would be willing to “meet” with anyone who wanted to speak to him.
“We are not a nation of fools.
We are not some country of political hacks, we are a nation that is proud of the fact that we’re a country of economic and technological achievement,” Mr Walsh said.
He added that “people can come to us with any opinion that they want”.
“I’ll meet with anyone.
We have the best negotiators in the world in the Cabinet.
We’re a nation built on trade and commerce, that’s why we have free trade agreements with other nations.”
If someone has an opinion that I disagree with, I’m prepared to meet with them and I’ll have them back with me, we will do our best to get them to the right place.
“We are an inclusive nation.
If people want to be part of our society they can come and speak to us, they will have the opportunity to do that, but we don’t need to do it in a political way.”
The thing is, this isn’t a national problem, this will be a business problem.
It will be an economic problem.
“What’s important for me is that we look at what the public’s concerns are and the people’s concerns.
I’m not criticising the protestors, I just think that what’s important is the Government’s response.”
He said it was “very important” that there were “no protests in front of the plant” but “that there’s not disruption to the lives of people”.
The Minister also said he had “no doubt” that a nuclear plant in Dublin would “increase economic activity” in the city.
“As we all know, the economic impact of a nuclear power facility in Dublin is substantial,” he said.
But the Minister also dismissed suggestions that there was a “need” for nuclear energy in Ireland, saying it would be “a bit naive to think” that people would “want” to live close to a nuclear facility.
“In the last 30 years, nuclear energy has created millions of jobs, increased employment and we have very good trade agreements.”
“It’s not an economic issue.
It’s an environmental issue and it’s a health issue and a safety issue and I think we need to look at those issues.”