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Fianna Fail Sign Off Last Section Corrib Pipeline

By: 
Socialist Workers Party

As the people of Ireland came out and voted to demolish Fianna Fail, Pat Carey ensured his party got their last nail in the coffin. On a day that Pat Carey the former Minister for Energy lost his seat in the Dail, and his party lost power he issued an order. With no mandate from the people he signed off the last section of the Corrib gas pipeline on the day of the general election. He gave the go-ahead to Shell to build infrastructure that will pump gas from the west coast to their interconnectors in Britain.

The Corrib Gas sale will go down in history as the biggest sell-off of Irish natural resources. It was a sale for private profit that Irish people will never benefit from.

People Before Profit Alliance (of which the SWP is a part) recently launched its energy and natural resources policy that calls for Ireland’s oil and gas resources to be returned to public ownership. This document highlights the fact that Ireland sits on a shocking €720billion worth of oil. It also shows that Ireland yields the second lowest governments take in the world on natural resources. The policy documented by People Before Profit shows how taking back our oil and gas provides a means to solve Ireland’s long term economic problems.

Newly elected TD Richard Boyd Barret said “serious questions need to be asked about what Fine Gael and Labour intentions are over the development and sale of our natural resources.” “We are calling on the incoming government to return Ireland’s oil and gas resources to public ownership.”

Fine Gael’s NewERA policy, which includes their plans on energy savings, shows no intentions of ever reversing the privatisation of Corrib gas. They recognise that 90% of Irelands energy needs are imported leaving us exposed to the price of oil and possible disruption of supply. Yet their solutions are aimed at introducing greater competition into the markets, further endorsing privatisation. Not only will our gas and oil stay in the hands of private owners, their policy believes installation of Smart Meters in every home “smart energy grid” is an answer to protecting us from rises in oil prices.

These meters Fine Gael claim will allow us to sell our own home-produced energy to the networks. Their “pay as you save” scheme as it’s called, is a fancy slogan for footing the bill on the Irish people. In their document they say their plans will be off no extra cost to the state.
As part of their overall economic stategy, Fine Gael proposes that a National Recovery Wholesale Bank (NRWB) will be created. NRWB will work with NewERA and provide funds to the utilites to allow them to start retrofitting the 1.2 million homes with poor energy ratings.
According to Fine Gael these bank loans won’t be footed by the tax payer.

Every house has energy bills, so despite claims these loans won’t be paid back through taxing we still are paying it regardless through our bills. The “pay as you save” slogan means you will pay for your “retrofit programme” before you see a saving in your energy bills.
Fine Gael state in their NewERA document they “believe a thriving competitive private sector is essential for economic recovery.” Competition for prices is not a guarantee to reduce our bills, the only people who have control of prices is the private companies. Their claim “to protect Ireland from rising energy prices by getting more domestic renewable energy sources connected to the grid as the price of oil rises” is farcical.

A ‘Smart Meter’ will not change the fact we don’t have ownership of our oil and gas.

The simple solution that Fine Gael refuses to tackle is stated in the People Before Profit alliance policy. Our natural resources must be brought into public ownership.

Joe Higgins, of the United Left Alliance, on hearing of the sign-off deal by Pat Carey said “The United Left alliance will be strenuously campaigning in the Dail and outside it for our natural resources to be brought back into public ownership and developed with public investment.”

With five United Left Alliance TD’s now in the Dail, the Corrib gas scandal can be properly raised and tackled. Pat Carey’s actions on election day have no political or moral authority and must be reversed. There must also be an inquiry of former FF Minister Ray Burke, and the scandals around the deal with Royal Dutch Shell company. The truth of the sell-off our natural resources should be in the public domain.

As the new Dail begins there can be no honeymoon period for Fine Gael. There NewERA policy they published will privatise more than our energy. We have already been robbed in the biggest rip-off in the state, when our natural resources were signed away for private profit.