By Siobhán Cronin
THE environment is becoming one of the main issues dividing younger and older candidates in the upcoming elections, according to Skibbereen resident David Puttnam.
The British peer, who sits in the House of Lords, has said that he hopes the debate over the proposed plastics factory in Skibbereen will become a major local elections issue.
‘The environment and the future of young people is certainly a hot topic – as it should be, and it’s certainly one of the dividing lines between the newer, younger candidates and the mainstream traditional parties,’ he told The Southern Star this week. ‘What the newer candidates can do is force the traditional parties and their candidates out of their fog of complacency, requiring them to re-appraise the opportunities and challenges this wonderful and increasingly diverse region possesses,’ he added.
Lord Puttnam was speaking after an interview in last weekend’s Irish Times referenced his increasing frustration with his native England, specifically on the Brexit issue.
‘One of the reasons we left our previous home in Wiltshire and came to Ireland was because of these post-colonial attitudes,’ he said. ‘Sometimes the conversations were of another era, totally out of touch. And now across the UK these post-imperial attitudes have resurfaced.’
He says, though, that he is also annoyed at the decision to give planning permission to build a plastic nurdles factory at Poundlick in Skibbereen, which is being challenged by local residents and other interests.
‘You know, after working so hard to successfully brand West Cork as a natural, good food hub they went and granted planning permission to a nurdles factory here. Can you believe that? The mind boggles. The short-sightedness from an environmental and economic point of view is staggering. We’re hoping sense will prevail, it will not go ahead and it should be a serious issue in the local elections in May,’ he told The Irish Times. And, speaking later to The Southern Star, he added that we must challenge ‘the incumbents to offer more than words – otherwise we simply get the ‘same old same old’.