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Minister Gormley can we ban the Bulbs or Not? – Update

Read more about: Coalition, Energy, Environment, Green Party, Irish Election, Irish Politics, Labour Party     Print This Post

Update: Below is a press release from Solus, the light bulb crowd about their meeting with Minister Gormley yesterday. They are not complimentary;

It was revealed today during a meeting with the Minister that his department had not put any proposals together on what lamps would be included in the ban and how he proposes to implement it. Solus press release

The impression we are getting is that the Minister is getting increasingly bogged down with the nuance of having us ban incandescent bulbs fully by January 1 next year. It may well be that he is en-route to some accomodation on the timeline, though not on the principle. It certainly is not doing a great deal for the Green’s credibility at the moment.

—–

This is really absolutely bonkers. John Gormley wants to ban conventional lightbulbs and replace them with the more energy efficient bulbs. Nice one, reduce carbon output and wasted heat/energy.

But….

They contain mercury so disposal of them might be a bit messy. As will the breaking of the bulbs, as it poses a health risk.

And the bulbs do actually pose further health problems to people with light-sensitivities, a genuine concern if ever there was one for you are dealing with people’s homes, their private life and their comforts.

Then it turns out that the whole thing cannot happen as the EU will spike it. Things like this need to take time and operate with a consideration to the European single-market. As a result a decision like this requires dealing with serious red-tape.

Not to worry, John Gormley has gone directly to the top man, in this case the Commission vice-president, Günter Verheugen, and ensured that the EU Commission will back his proposals. Nothing like a bit of pull to sort out an issue, order restored.

Or is it, Joanna Tuffy will not let this one lie, she argues that he has merely gotten support “in principle” and permission has not been granted to circumvent the Technical Standards Directives.

The fact of the matter is that he is going to have to delay his proposed ban of incandescent light bulbs and have a proper consultation on his proposal with all stakeholders including the Irish domestic lightbulb manufacturing industry and the public.

This drip-drip over and back is a little farcical yet highly damaging to Minister Gormley if it is allowed to continue much further. The Minister may well be able to implement the move and retain leadership on the issue but it looks like Labour are getting a foothold here and labelling like ‘lights-out Gormley’ and ‘google Gormley’ are only serving to associate the Minister with an inability to operate on a straight-forward initiative and follow it through.

No one said government would be easy, I doubt he thought it would be this tricky though.

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21 Responses to “Minister Gormley can we ban the Bulbs or Not? – Update”

  1. # Comment by PJ Jan 10th, 2008 17:01

    Joanna Tuffy, the woman who said that getting rid of traditional light bulbs was a mistake because it would mean people would have to turn up their heating to compensate.

    Hands up anyone who uses or relies on lightbulbs to heat their home?

  2. # Comment by Simon Jan 10th, 2008 18:01

    I really don’t think so cian as PJ pointed out Tuffy is not acting as a creditable person here. The big problem for most people is they are not as bright. Personally I think it is a great idea.

  3. # Comment by woollythinker Jan 10th, 2008 18:01

    Hands up anyone who thinks announcing a particular date, January 2009, for a full ban of incandescent light bulbs, is acceptable when then afterwards

    1. Announces a consultation process (after the ban is announced)
    2. Did not check out EU law and waited until yesterday to ask about it
    3. Now accepts he needs to go through an EU notification process when he denied it earlier
    4. Now saying he will “work on liaising closely with the Commission to ensure that the Irish proposals are consistent with those in the pipeline in Europe”. And the EU recently suggested they might consider a phase out of the bulbs over an eight year time frame!

    Lots of rowing back there…

  4. # Comment by Cian Jan 10th, 2008 18:01

    i think the whole thing is becoming farcical. It is not so much Tuffy taking on a minister status, it is that the person that PJ outlined is making the minister’s proposal look less than competent.

    I agree its a decent idea, thats why its a bit of a mess.

  5. # Comment by woollythinker Jan 10th, 2008 18:01

    Why is Tuffy not a creditable person here?

  6. # Comment by Green Ink Jan 10th, 2008 18:01

    Woolly, Simon said it above:
    “The big problem for most people is they are not as bright.”

  7. # Comment by woollythinker Jan 10th, 2008 18:01

    Do you mean the bulbs or the Greens?

    Whats not creditable about pointing out that EU law has to be complied with and that certain issues have to be taken into account?

  8. # Comment by Cian Jan 10th, 2008 18:01

    dont have a problem with her raising this, thing about this for me is a minister is getting bogged down by a spox who has been in the dail less than six months (I know about seanad etc-you get my point).

  9. # Comment by Green Ink Jan 10th, 2008 18:01

    That was a joke. I’ve a great low energy bulb in the office. Damn all heat off it though.

  10. # Comment by woollythinker Jan 10th, 2008 19:01

    Cian, what do you mean she is a spox? Are all newly elected TDs not allowed to take the government to task on any issue they think they are incorrect on? Is James Reily FGs spokesperson on health a spox? Is Leo Varadker? Is Mary White?

    All Tuffy did is to take to task a minister who is being disingenuous in his own way by not admitting that he was wrong in the first place. Tuffy’s original press release as far as I’m aware just pointed out that he could not introduce a blanket ban by January 2009 because of EU law. If you read between the lines he is now rowing back and realises she was correct.

  11. # Comment by Simon Jan 10th, 2008 23:01

    Tuffy said that it would result in peoples houses getting colder first before she brought up this EU thing.

  12. # Comment by woollythinker Jan 10th, 2008 23:01

    Simon, I’ve just checked the Labour website and the first statement she issued on December 14th was on the EU legislation – see http://www.labour.ie/press/listing/11976468095011.html

    Her next statement on the 18th December was on the calculation of savings of carbon emmissions that the minister was claiming would be made by banning incandescent bulbs. This is what she spoke about not houses getting colder as you say. see- http://www.labour.ie/press/listing/11979999512048881.html

    I’ve heard her saying we need to take into consideration the effects of banning traditional bulbs on lower income families, for people with lupus or epilepsy, for workers in Solus, mercury in the CFLs etc. Isn’t her job as opposition spokesperson on the Environment to take up the minister on any points she thinks should be debated?

    I don’t see why she is being berated for pointing out that the minister is incorrect in saying that he will be able to ban traditional bulbs by January 2009 which is what his original statement said.

  13. # Comment by Maman Poulet Jan 11th, 2008 00:01

    What’s a spox?? It’s like a kids playground in here at the moment lads. Some of ye should pick up yer toys and go somewhere else or look at the real issues in hand?

  14. # Comment by Cian Jan 11th, 2008 10:01

    spox=spokesperson.

  15. # Comment by Jeremy Jan 11th, 2008 10:01

    interesting about that Spok abbreviation. If you have an Irish accent then its pronounced like spock as in our pointy earred Mr Nimoy and its hard to determine what its a reference to. If you have a D4/ Dort type accent than its clearly obvious that it refers to spokesperson because the o sounds is elongatated to that spok sounds more like spoke.

  16. # Comment by woollythinker Jan 11th, 2008 12:01

    Well spox sounded derogatory to me. You learn something new everyday :-)

  17. # Comment by Cian Jan 11th, 2008 15:01

    my apologies, typing in a rush. Interstingly just received a press release from Solus which is likely to put more pressure on John Gormley, will be posting it presently.

  18. # Comment by Maman Poulet Jan 11th, 2008 16:01

    Fecking abbreviations…Shakes Head and turns off the light.

  19. # Comment by Gordon DAVIES Jan 11th, 2008 19:01

    Gormley is a new boy in Government – it takes time to learn how to do things. After all FF have been in power almost continuously for 70 years and they still aren’t anywhere near competent!

    It is surmpring however that as the Greens and the environmental movement have been using European law to drag the FF led govts into the 20th Century, that they should have got it so wrong on this one!
    Gordon

  20. # Comment by joemomma Jan 12th, 2008 02:01

    1. Announces a consultation process (after the ban is announced)
    2. Did not check out EU law and waited until yesterday to ask about it
    3. Now accepts he needs to go through an EU notification process when he denied it earlier
    4. Now saying he will “work on liaising closely with the Commission to ensure that the Irish proposals are consistent with those in the pipeline in Europe”. And the EU recently suggested they might consider a phase out of the bulbs over an eight year time frame!

    Lots of rowing back there…

    1. The consultation process was announced simultaneously with the ban.
    2. Says you.
    3. He never denied he had to go through an EU notification process.
    4. My reading is that that refers to the standards themselves rather than the time frame, i.e. he doesn’t intend to adopt something that is completely incompatible with the standards eventually adopted by the EU.

    So where’s the rowing back?

  21. # Comment by woollythinker Jan 12th, 2008 10:01

    1. Look at his speech in the Budget on the Greens own website http://www.greenparty.ie/en/news/latest_news/gormley_delivers_carbon_budget where does it mention consultation? It is only subsequently that he mentioned consulting stakeholders. And so much for consultation when according the Irish Times this morning he has basically told Solus tough luck about their business as he’s pushing through anyway despite their looking for clarifications and a more workable timeframe for the introduction. Also, you do not give a date for a ban and then start consulting. This shows total disregard for the stakeholders.

    2. Why did he need to go to Europe to ask the question? And touché.

    3. He never said he had to do this until this week. Is that not how all this blew up in the ministers face in the first place. Because he had not factored in the EU regulations, his timeframe of January 2009 was unlikely to be achieved.

    4. But the EU have not decided on the standards yet. This will also inevitably delay the whole process also. Also, what about the single market – is that not the purpose of the EU?

    I also just spotted this on politics.ie – Dept. of Environment March 2007
    “Because of the Single Market, Ireland cannot ban inefficient bulbs unilaterally but we could consider an environmental levy to change behavior, in advance of a ban, the same way we did with the plastic bag levy.”

    Seems the government don’t agree either on this.

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