One word guaranteed to cause offence in polite company in Ireland is the n-word: nuclear.
This is a pity as the 'nuclear option' may be the only option we have to protect our standard of living over the next 10-20 years. With oil prices now breaking through $82 a barrel for the first time ever, the prognosis for our carbon fuel based economy is not good. A conference this week in Cork hosted by ASPO - the Association for the Study of Peak Oil - highlighted our extreme vulnerability (my own company Amárach was one of the sponsors by the way).
One of the more interesting debates was about Ireland's stance on nuclear power (summarised here in The Examiner). We tend to respond emotionally rather than rationally to the nuclear issue in public discussion - possibly due to the 'Jane Fonda Effect' explored by the authors of the always excellent Freakonomics blog.
Nevertheless, with the prospect of a wrenching change to the energy basis of our economy in the next few short years then the time for debate and action is here. And it is certainly time we grew less sensitive to the n-word.