A time for Family

Family Fun

As we enter this festive season of which the primary focus should be family, I paused to consider the destructive impact that renewable energy legislation has had on so many families in this country, particularly those families living in the rural areas, or at least outside the city limits.


I deliberately withdrew from the fight against wind farms a while ago as, apart from the tiresome hate-mail, the struggle had become all-consuming to the exclusion of everything else. The biggest sufferers were my family, who just never saw me, a sad state of affairs. This is the perplexing irony, your struggle to protect those you love means never seeing them.


On the other hand, I was lucky to make friends with some lovely people. Kieran, Pauline, Sean, Samantha, Graham, Kath, Paddy, Gemma, Midi, Shawny, Gianni, Michael, Dave, Pat, the list goes on, and I do miss their company, and keep telling myself to get in touch, but something always comes up. Sorry guys, the social failings of an introvert! I salute you for carrying on the fight, and we really must have an end-of-year drink.


The destructive impact on the lives of families of people actively engaged in the struggle not only has this social element, it has a legal element as well.

Could it be argued that laws which force citizens to spend all their family- time fighting them, usually to protect their family and their homes, are unconstitutional for that reason alone ?




3 1° The State guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate the personal rights of the citizen.

2° The State shall, in particular, by its laws protect as best it may from unjust attack and, in the case of injustice done, vindicate the life, person, good name, and property rights of every citizen.


The government will of course rely on the ‘as far as is practicable” clause and argue that it is doing its best not to harm citizens, but will plead justification along the lines of “if you wanna make an omelette, you gotta break some eggs”.


This argument might be worthy of some consideration if the public were fully consulted about suggested legislation and their reactions actually considered and allowed to affect outcomes. It does not hold water on the back of ambush planning applications, ‘consultations’ with bouncers at the door, and ‘call-in’ offices hidden at the end of a cul-de-sac in a one-horse hamlet, invisible even to SatNav.


The argument is now entirely discredited with the government seeking to pass new planning legislation which effectively ousts public participation.


“Without the ability to criticize unjust laws in powerful symbolic ways, we can’t change them. And the point of a democracy is that people should be able to convince other people to change a law.”

Marvin Ammori




1 1° The State recognises the Family as the natural primary and fundamental unit group of Society, and as a moral institution possessing inalienable and imprescriptible rights, antecedent and superior to all positive law.

2° The State, therefore, guarantees to protect the Family in its constitution and authority, as the necessary basis of social order and as indispensable to the welfare of the Nation and the State.


The government will also argue that citizens do not have to go out and protest an unjust law, and therefore these are acts of voluntary self-sacrifice and cannot be laid at the door of the government. This argument might hold water if the protest was about the sugar tax on fizzy drinks as I was pissed-off that my rum-and-coke is more expensive. The argument does not hold muster regarding protests against, for example, the windfarm distance guidelines (the Minister still does not have the cojones to make Regulations, which can be enforced), where the issues are about a lot more than a dent in one’s lifestyle.


I can say with certainty that, if there was a choice, a lot of people doing the hard yards at the moment would rather be at home with their families. The work is exhausting and demoralising. This is not a voluntary protest, it is an act of self-defence, protecting their homes, their families, and for those who have wind farms built near their homes, their sanity.


“When law becomes despotic, morals are relaxed, and vice versa.”

Honore de Balzac



But these are just the musings of an idealist, who believes the role of government is to uphold the Constitution, and more particularly, that such Government is prohibited from making laws which attack the very fabric of our society, the family. Silly me.


I wish all of you a festive season of family, love and goodwill.



About Neil van Dokkum

Neil van Dokkum (B. SocSc; LLB; LLM; PGC Con.Lit) Neil is a law lecturer and has been so since arriving in Ireland from South Africa in 2002. Prior to that Neil worked in a leading firm of solicitors from 1987-1992, before being admitted as an Advocate of the Supreme Court of South Africa (a barrister) in 1992. He published three books in South Africa on employment law and unfair dismissal, as well as being published in numerous national and international peer-reviewed journals. Neil currently specialises in employment law, medical negligence law, family law and child protection law. He dabbles in EU law (procurement and energy). Neil retired from full-time practice in 2002 to take up a lecturing post. He has published three books since then, “Nursing Law for Irish Students (2005); “Evidence” (2007); and “Nursing Law for Students in Ireland” (2011). His current interest is the area of disability as a politico-economic construct. Neil is very happily married to Fiona, and they have two sons, Rory and Ian.
This entry was posted in EirGrid; Insurance; Law; Cancer; EMF, EU Renewable Energy 2020 Target, Peremptory law; Directory Law; Planning and Devlopment Act of 2000 and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to A time for Family

  1. Pat OBrien says:

    Best Wishes for Christmas and New Year

    Kind regards


    On Sun, 8 Dec 2019 at 21:15, The Law is my Oyster wrote:

    > Neil van Dokkum posted: ” As we enter this festive season of which the > primary focus should be family, I paused to consider the destructive impact > that renewable energy legislation has had on so many families in this > country, particularly those families living in the rural areas” >

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