The following letter was sent to the Sunday Times and printed in their 14/03/2010 edition.

An Taisce, renewable energy and The Spirit of Ireland

Energy security is critically important to the future of the Country, yet currently half our energy generation relies on natural gas which is not only in limited supply but is imported through politically volatile countries. Ireland must also prepare for a future of scarce energy supplies and so An Taisce enthusiastically supports the government target to generate at least 40% of our electricity needs from renewable sources.

We are aware that the planning and regulatory processes for schemes that provide renewable energy can be improved and urgently need to be interlinked for the “good of the nation” but this must be achieved in ways that do not undermine the protection of the environment and the ecosystems that support Ireland’s future. We are adamant that such schemes must go through the planning process and do not contravene Irish or European laws and directives

The Spirit of Ireland may have huge potential for renewable energy but in view of its size, scope and the potential social, economic and environmental impact, An Taisce is calling for the project to be subject to ‘Strategic Environmental Assessment’. This should ensure that the ‘broader picture’ emerges of the requirements for the Country's energy security and environmental protection.

An Taisce, is an environmental charity and exists in order to protect Ireland's rich heritage and to guide the sustainable development of the country. It does that through the existing legal framework and will never make a special case for any specific project to be “pushed through”.

Charles Stanley-Smith Chair An Taisce The National Trust for Ireland Tailors' Hall Dublin 8