Captain Kenny and crew exit pylon quadrant

“U-turn now, Rabbitte and set engines to warp speed. I’ll take the bridge,” says captain

Pylons – the final frontier and a  dangerous space for Captain Kenny of the Enterprise economy

Pylons – the final frontier and a dangerous space for Captain Kenny of the Enterprise economy


It was like an episode of Star Trek yesterday, with a touch of The Wombles and some American folk music thrown in for good measure.

Pylons – the final frontier.

A dangerous space for Captain Kenny of the Enterprise economy, and him hoping to “address the challenge of the future” and boldly go where no taoiseach has gone before.

His crew is travelling deep into the local election quadrant. But there are pylons on the horizon and they are shipping severe turbulence.

Scotty Rabbitte: “I cannae hold her, Captain. We’re being bombarded with submissions. 30,000 of them. The North-South interconnector is under pressure!”

Capt Kenny: “U-turn now, Rabbitte and set engines to warp speed. I’ll take the bridge.”

The Taoiseach assumes command and the familiar sound of The Wombles theme fills the air again.

Underground, overground, waffling free . . .

The dreaded U-turn. Maybe nobody will notice.

“Plot a course for a
review panel. Launch the compensation funds. We’ll keep ’em talking,” says Enda, decisively.

Where’s Spock?
But wait. Where’s Spock?

Nowhere to be seen, for Minister Shatter is sulking on one of the lower decks after an unhappy run-in with the dreaded forces of the PAC.

“Highly illogical” is what he was last heard to say, as Shane Ross, his South Dublin constituency rival, forced him to retreat on the penalty points controversy.

It’s all go on the Enterprise as it continues its mission to discover the best small country in the world in which to do business.

“Jettison deputy Hayes!” commanded Capt Kenny earlier in the day. “Fire him into deepest space. He’s going to Europe.” Brian Hayes, promising leadership candidate and astute national politician, dutifully steps out on to the plinth and prepares to depart for Brussels.

Yes, Enda may have been grappling in the Dáil with the opponents of overground high-voltage electricity lines and the proponents of underground networks, but at least he’s dealt with the Hayes problem.

That boy led a mutiny against him. He would never prosper under Kenny. He had to go, he knew it, and he went graciously before lunch.

Back in the chamber, Dara Calleary and Gerry Adams stormed the bridge, sensing Kenny’s engines were in reverse thrust. They weren’t fooled by the talk.

Scotty Rabbitte performed “a U-turn turn that would get a full 10 marks on Strictly Come Dancing”, scoffed Calleary.

This new change of course for a review panel on the pylons was a Government ruse to exploit the space-time continuum. “An excuse to get by May 23rd and get your party through the local election process.”

What about the health implications of overground pylons? Even his own man, Dr Bones Reilly, had expressed concerns about the dangers posed by electromagnetic fields. Capt Kenny responded with reference to Grid Link and Grid West, the North- South interconnector and underground-overground options.

Gerry Adams also headed into pylon territory. Sinn Féin’s position has always been that EirGrid should only proceed with the proposed project on the basis that the lines will be “undergrounded”.

The issue is whether they are overground or underground. He too asked about the North-South interconnector and health concerns

Kenny had a skeleton crew to back him up when under fire from the main Opposition parties and most of the independents.

Just one Minister – Frances Fitzgerald – and one junior Minister – Fergus O’Dowd, were with him. The rest were missing in action. They’re afraid of the pylons. Far worst than the Klingons when an election beckons.

Enda delegated the matter of “non-ionising radiation” and “electromagnetic fields” to his enforcer, Big Phil Hogan, who wasn’t there. That’s his field, apparently.

The schoolchildren in the gallery looked confused by the heavily technical exchanges.

It’s life, kiddies, but not as you know it.

As far as the Taoiseach is concerned, he’s happy to drift around the local election quadrant until the polls close.

Scotty Rabbitte has now raised the review panel shields in order to absorb the bombardment from backbenchers and the grassroots.

“I’m givin’ her all she’s got!” says Pat, embarking on a round of interviews.

“Make it so!” commands Enda.

Until the elections are over, Government resistance to the underground network lobby is futile.

Joan Collins of the Technicals zoomed in with a reference to his recent voyage to the planet Davos, an alien place populated by billionaires. “I wonder, Taoiseach, if you will join with me in marking the passing of the folk singer Pete Seeger, ” she began, as Enda looked up, nonplussed.

There was utter panic in the chamber at this point as people feared Finian McGrath, sitting next to Joan, was about to produce his guitar.

“Pete Seeger wrote and recorded some of the most famous protest songs used by the civil rights movement of the 1960s,” she said. He was “an organiser and social activist who spent his life fighting for justice and against austerity, inequality and greed”.

Planet Davos
Now he had returned from Planet Davos, might the Taoiseach reconsider his austerity programme?

Enda smiled, because he was free for a time from the Wombling zone of the underground overground waffling-free pylons.

He said he thought Seeger was great, and sometimes, during Leaders’ Questions, he fell to thinking of the words from one of his songs, If I had a Hammer. Instead, he has to rely on Big Phil.

“I recall The Boss at the Seeger Sessions, which were incredible” he sighed.

We presumed he meant Bruce Springsteen, or perhaps it was the Garda Commissioner. And with a live long and prosper reply all about his excellent command of the good ship Enterprise, Capt Kenny declared his goal is to “hold our momentum and keep our objectives in sight”.

Then, avoiding the grids and interconnectors, he beamed himself safely out
of the session.