Any questions for Batt O'Keeffe?

Batt O’Keeffe has been a TD (member of the Irish parliament) for Fianna Fáil in Cork and is a currently a minister of state in the Department of the Environment.

I have been asked to host a series of podcasts with Batt in the run-up to the next national elections here in Ireland. The election date hasn’t been announced yet but it is widely expected to be around the end of May this year.

My first interview with Batt for these podcasts is provisionally booked for this Friday (April 27th).

If you have any questions you’d like me to put to Batt, please feel free to leave them in the comments of this post.

Update – comments closed on this post now as the interview is over. Thanks to everyone who contributed. Great questions. Really added to the podcast.

31 thoughts on “Any questions for Batt O'Keeffe?”

  1. Hi,

    You could possible ask him why there appears to be divergence on the governments stance on renewable energy. In the recent government white paper on energy they outline a substantial refit of the moneypoint power plant, yet only today Noel dempsey comments on the inssustainability of fossil fuels(ya dont say!).

    Instances of the government saying one thing about renewablel energy and doing another are rampant. Currently if you burn peat to create energy you get 11cent per kwh but if you create it using wind only 4-5cent(would have to check that one for accuracy).


  2. I have been asked to host a series of podcasts with Batt…

    Interesting use of the passive voice. Who asked you?

    FF propaganda here we go!

  3. You could ask him why Meath County council won’t invest in infrastructure in East Meath despite planning to increase the population by 30,000 over the next 10 years. The road system is a shambles, the water supply is critical and they are pumping sewerage into the sea on the only beach in the county. They still haven’t managed to get a school site in Laytown. The list goes on and on.

    You could also ask them if they are spending the development levies from 1000’s of houses in the East Meath area as they are obliged to do.

  4. If we are seeking a carbon reduction, why are we spending more money on building more highways and toll roads and buyiny more Buses than on Railroads and light rail?

  5. Hello Tom,

    I would like you to ask Batt O’Keefe if the stories about his aiding the protesters against the Slí Eile refuge for recoverers of Mental Illness are true.

    If so, has he changed his views of how the marginalised in our society should be treated?

    Does he now regret his actions in this regard?

    I would very much appreciate this question being included.


    PL (Campaigner for John McCarthy Independent Cork North Central)

  6. Why is fluoride still being put in water in this country when it has no positive health effects and most can even be leathal! or at worst cause fluorosis after prolonged ingestion!

    Also Why is Aspartme still used in foods in ireland with all the questionable health effects it has on people as it is a known carcinogen and nerotoxin, Can we not follow the steps of at least sainsbury’s in the uk and ban it completely from foods because of this and use more naturally occuring substances in our food!

    Also on the Renewable energy Point why is there no time being given to the studies by thousands of climate scientists that have said that the human contribution to climate change is not confirmed, also the only temperature increase noted of any amount is only around cities and built up areas and when a global temperature is taken from satellites it gives only a minute change that falls within natural variations, And we can not disprove that we are not going through a natural warming which was precededand probably be followed by a natural cooling? At least these arguments shoud be considered instead of just thrown out for the more radical and headline grabbing argumnents!

  7. FF propaganda here we go!

    Sharon, I should also have said that the difference between this and what you call FF propaganda is that you get the opportunity to put your questions to Batt – as opposed to the normal one-way, stuff it down your throat system, that is the Party political broadcast!

  8. Gerard – power generation is more Dempsey’s department, but FYI, the going rate for wind power is 7 to 7.5 cents per unit.

    Tom – Two Questions for you:

    1) Fingal Co. Council’s Local Area Plans now insist that houses be built 60% better insulated than the building code, and obtain 30% of their energy from renewables. When Dunlaoghaire Rathdown proposed putting these into its County Development Plan the Dept. of the Environment wrote complaining that these standards are “too onerous”.

    Fingal’s move won’t cause a surge in house prices because the price is already maxed out to what people can get by way of a mortgage, so why did O’Keefe’s Department climb in on behalf of developers?

    2) An SEI study in 2005 showed that 98% of houses built did not meet even the most basic insulation standards of our building code. This report has not been published (why?) but was covered in the
    Sunday Tribune and was announced by Gerry Wardell who carried out the study.

    Why hasn’t it been published, and what is the Department of the Environment doing about it? Such shoddy standards will leave families suffering severe fuel poverty in the future. Doesn’t all of this show a continuation of the cosy relationship between Fianna Fail and its funders in the construction industry?

    Declaration of interest – I’m the Green Party Candidate for Cork S.W.

  9. I suggest that you ask why FF are promising us all clean water (up to EU standards) in 2007 ? Surely this is something we should have had many years ago ?

  10. It will be nice to hear the questions being asked. I don’t hold out much hope for the interest level of the answers, but I suppose I shouldn’t judge in advance!

  11. To expand on Paul Lee’s comments. There was a piece on TodayFM about Batt and Sli Eile. TodayFM said they had invited Batt on all week and he did not accept the invitation. On it Matt Cooper and Sli Eile slated Batt for getting private documents and correspondence between Sli Eile and the Southern Health Board (at the time) and also from Cork County Council and giving them to the residents association to use as amunition for them to prevent the Sli Eile project from being a auccess.

    Vincent Browne has also been quite critical of this.

    Does Minister O’Keeffe believe he abused his power and influence in the health board and county council to get those documents? Why did he not use an FOI request or suggest it to the residents? Would that information actually have been disclosed under an FOI?

    Does the Minister regret his decision? Would he do the same for any other residents assocation in his constituency?

    Does the Minister not see that people think he did this in order to get support in his new constituency and his act was nothing more than politiking?

    Does the Minister think that former mental health patients should be kept away from the general public?

    Has the Minister met with the Sli Eile group to discuss this whole issue?

    On other topics:
    There is a growing trend for Ministers and members of the Government to hide behind regulators, new groups such as the HSE and so forth. Whenever anything stupid or incompetent happens now, they are made to take the blame, not the Minister in charge. Does the Minister support this policy of blame diversion?

    What should Ministers resign for and for what reasons should a party member lose the whip?

    The Minister voted against the proposed Civil Unions Bill. Why is that? Does the Minister support equality which includes civil unions?

    The Minister sat on the board of the Southern Health Board, during which the policy of no TB shots for kids was ongoing. Was the Minister aware of this policy? Did anyone bring this to his attention? Who does the Minister think should be brought to account over the terrible TB outbreak in Cork?

    Can the Minister suggest one thing wrong with his party and what needs to change?

  12. The decision to stop offering BCG in Cork against all best practice worldwide could have far reaching long-term impact on health in Cork.

    What is the Minister doing as a local representative with both the Minister for Health and the HSE to ensure that the current waiting list for BCG is cut from 6 months to 6 days in Cork?

    Is the Minister aware that this has the potential to be an election loser in Cork if something isn’t done immediately?

  13. I’ve three questions,

    Simple one to start with
    1) Everyone seems to be passing the buck when it comes to the Galway water crisis. Do you believe that the time has come for the council and the government to set aside their squabbles and act together to fix the problem as speedily as possible?

    Bit more controversial
    2) Do you think the current press release and photo opportunity culture around government departments distracts from the day to day running of the country.

    And finally
    3) Since Ministers are quick to take credit for projects when they are announced do you believe those same Ministers should be held to account and resign if those projects run drastically behind schedule and above budget? Where do you believe a Ministers responsibility for projects ends? After he announces it or after he delivers it?

  14. Does he see it as fair that politicians can vote for their own payrises rather than have the public determine if they deserve it?

    Can they show the benefits of them getting paid that amount of money and what do we get per minister, per EURO?

    What will they do to improve the level of service and work being given and done by the Civil Service offices?

    What will they be doing to ensure that jobs stay in Cork and that more will be taken down this way?

    Why are they all a shower of bastards? (Im not sure if you will ask that one 🙂 )

    You may have to excuse my questions but as Damien knows, I am not a fan of politics or politicians and think they are all (well nearly all) a corrupt law onto themselves who care little about the people they allegedly represent

  15. @Sharon: I don’t think Tom should be accused of FF propaganda for doing his job.
    Tom, ask Minister O’Keeffe if the neglect of Irish drinking water supplies is paving the way for privatised water the same way the neglect of the Health Services is doing for private health care.

  16. In a way haven’t they already privatised water in Galway by selecting just one company the public can purchase cheap water from.

  17. Ask him will he join his party colleague Mary O’Rourke and sign the petition supporting our call for weekend elections. And if not why does he think that Thursday is the best day for an election when international evidence says that is not the case. If you want more info on the question just ask or check some quick points here.

  18. I’d like to know WHY Fianna Fail would want to implement electronic voting WITHOUT a Voter Verified Audit Trail (VVAT) by which we can VERIFY the counts?

    Anything less constitutes giving away our democracy, limited as it is.

    Morgan Stack.

  19. Hmm. I wonder if this is a slightly flawed process. Had you planned to give Batt O’Keefe all the questions well in advance of the interview? Would you like us to email you a few sneaky ones that his spin doctors cannot get to craft a reply to so we can find out how eloquent he is when it hasn’t been scripted, choreographed and rehearsed?

    Hi Batt (I presume you’re reading this at least as often as we are!)

  20. Quentin, i would strongly guess that Batt will not be briefed even if he could be, and the volume of emails (as seen here) will be quick n fast. I guess before the interview even happens that Tom will afford his interviewee dignity and respect that the podosphere would generally cringe at, but this will be the norm and sure I would do the same myself.

    once tom did not afford an interviewee dignity and respect, the chap did not turn up (on skype). Tom proceeded to ask the questions to the absent guest. The answers were filled with silence. I like Tom but I could have punched him for that, and I was not the absent guest.

    We will meet all sorts on the way up and we will whiz past them on the way back down; be nice to people. 🙂 have a nice day. puke.

    Ask Batt to affirm FF policy on nuclear power in Ireland. Ask what if anything FF are planning to do to mark the 50th anniversary of the Windscale fire in October.

  21. Ask him if he thinks his campaign would attract more publicity if he wore a costume, drove around in a rocket powered car and called himself Battman.

  22. @Brian – despise is a strong term! My own father was a politician so I can’t be said to despise politicians. A healthy disregard might be more accurate!

  23. ok i take back despise and accept very healthy disregard. Your father an MEP no less!

    So how did it go? did it go? is it your or their mp3 to release?
    are we nearly there yet are we nearly there yet are we nearly there yet
    call the damn election, I just got 10,000 leaflets to drop tonight.. to a network.. Batt get Bertie to call it, his days are numbered.

  24. In a way haven’t they already privatised water in Galway by selecting just one company the public can purchase cheap water from.

    Dedan, not so sure about “already privatised water in Galway”.

    The “buy one and get one free” may be a private action by Galway water producer / bottling company. How else would they get people to buy bottled water that says “Galway” on it?

  25. When are we going to get broadband in rural areas ?, why was the group broadband scheme cancled by the goverment, do they care about rural communities ?

    Can we make it tax attractive for compines to let there workers work from home ??


  26. Ask him why he’s illegally already placing posters up in public
    when an election has not yet been called.

    Also, why the public have been effectively deprived of the use of the watergrasshill bypass (a publicly funded road) unless they pay a toll for the fermoy bypass.
    The obvious solution was to put the exit north of wgh village.

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