Green Party councillor hits out at ‘morons’ in council chamber

Limerick Green Party councillor Séan Hartigan.

THE revolution, the song goes, will not be televised. But Green Party councillor Seán Hartigan believes he witnessed the perfect reason last week for Limerick City and County Council meetings to be broadcast into living rooms.

After listening to councillors speak on a motion relating to wind energy development guidelines in the Dooradoyle chamber, Cllr Hartigan was confounded by the debate he had just listened to. He took the view that it was all the evidence he needed to “justify” having cameras in County Hall.

“People need to see what they have elected, the climate deniers they have elected. People talking absolute nonsense here about there not being enough wind to boil an egg — that was Cllr Stephen Keary’s comment. The same councillor previously suggested we might need to retrofit chimneys on houses in the past,” the Green Party councillor declared.

“We are dealing with dinosaurs in here, complete climate change deniers. We have had the wettest June on record, the hottest July. There’s disaster throughout the world related to climate change and you have absolute morons in here,” Cllr Hartigan insisted.

The City East representative explained to council members that Ireland got 42 per cent of its energy in 2020 from renewables, which he believes are the way forward.

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“We have people talking about impacts of wind on children and not talking about the impacts of fossil fuel and coal on air pollution. The same people that are mouthing on here about the dangers of wind energy are the very same people mouthing on about the pollution coming from fossil fuels in Mungret.

“Lads, ye can’t have it all your own way,” he told the chamber.

Cllr Hartigan went on to tell councillors that the reason the wind energy regulations aren’t updated is because the Fine Gael government made an “absolute bags” of it in 2018.

He claimed that if wind energy regulations had been adopted at the time, “there wouldn’t be a wind turbine built in the entire country”.

Fine Gael councillor Stephen Keary was not impressed and hit out at the Mayor of Limerick, Cllr Gerald Mitchell, for not taking more cognisance of what had been said when Cllr Hartigan referred to him as a “moron”.

“I take grave exception to that. I think that person should be asked to leave the chamber. I never insulted him,” Cllr Keary replied.

Cllr Keary said he was happy to stand over a proposal he had made two years earlier in which he “suggested that every house should have the facility of a chimney, every new build, for the simple reason, if there was an economic catastrophe, if there was no energy, no electricity available, for one reason or another, how would people cook a dinner? How would people boil a kettle of water?”

Cllr Keary called for the Green Party councillor to “withdraw his nasty comments”.

Cllr Hartigan agreed that it was a bit strong using the word “moron”, but made out that to suggest wind turbines only make enough energy to boil an egg it is definitely “foolish”.

“If you drive the roads at any day past any of the wind turbines, especially the ones on low land, you will see that they are not rotating, and I do believe an egg wouldn’t boil,” Cllr Keary hit back.

Fianna Fáil councillor Kieran O’Hanlon wanted to know if it was only Cllr Keary that was being referred to as a “moron” by the Green Party representative “or were there others?”

“No, I think Emmett O’Brien’s speech was foolish as well,” Hartigan responded.

Independent Cllr Emmett O’Brien, who was equally concerned about why he and Cllr Adam Teskey (FG) had been separated like “two bold childs” in the chamber, had strong views on the subject. He spoke about sonic and noise pollution and “gross impact” on aquatic life from off-shore wind-farms.