New lobby group aims to unseat politicians 'toxic to rural Ireland'

A new alliance of community groups is to mount a pre-election campaign to unseat what it calls "toxic" politicians.

Protect Rural Ireland has said it will not put candidates before the electorate, but instead will campaign against elected representatives who have supported the construction of wind turbines.

The group said it wanted to protect the country's tourism, agriculture and equine industries.

Chairperson Henry Fingleton said: "We have identified politicians and we intend to unseat them. There are several politicians we identify as being toxic to rural Ireland.

"These are politicians who continue to support the roll-out of wind farms and pylons. We will target their seats and try to unseat them."

Update 11.30am: The list includes includes Ministers Alan Kelly, Alex White and Charlie Flanagan, as well as Emmet Stagg, Bernard Durkan & Marcella Corcoran Kennedy.

Mr Fingleton added: "The CO2 savings we're getting from wind are minuscule. We could convert (Co Clare-based ESB power station) Moneypoint* to biomass and achieve our 2020 target with one, single action - we'd never have to build another turbine or support pylon.

"Politicians have chosen to ignore that option. They are proceeding with an all-wind strategy which is clearly not delivering."

*Coal is currently the primary fuel used to generate electricity at Moneypoint station. The station consumes approximately 7,000 tonnes of coal per day, or around 2 million tonnes a year. ESB Moneypoint also has two heavy fuel oil (HFO) storage tanks with a capacity of 50,000 tonnes, which can be used as a back-up fuel if needed. ESB currently operates 10 hydro stations, 10 thermal stations and 17 wind farms across the Ireland and the UK.

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