“It would be a question of the utmost public concern if an undercover officer were effectively permitted to operate without justification, authorisation or oversight in Ireland.”
Interpreting the Corrib gas conflict as a microcosm of the Irish state's approach to hydrocarbon management, this study articulates environmental, health and safety concerns which underpin community resistance to the project. The dispute exposed broader issues, such as the privatisation of Irish hydrocarbons in exchange for one of the lowest rates of government take in the world, and served to problematise how the state functions, its close relationship with capital, and its deployment of coercive force to repress dissent. In this original account of decision-making and policy formation around Irish hydrocarbons from 1957 to 2014, the development of the Irish model is traced in the context of occurrences in political economy; nationally and internationally. Other models of resource management are also examined and a study of Norway reveals multi-level forces which influence hydrocarbon management. Using those factors to critique the Irish model, the consequences of Irish policies are uncovered and a blueprint for an alternative framework for hydrocarbon management is offered.