Skip to main content

Pat Rabbitte speaking in the Seanad about the recent EPA court decision


Deputy Pat Rabbitte:  I think we have done that. They are capped at the Taoiseach's salary of €200,000, but his salary nowadays is €100,000 less than what it was when his predecessor was in office.

  I refer to Senator Ó Clochartaigh's query about the Corrib gasfield. The company will have to make a new application to the Environmental Protection Agency for an integrated pollution prevention control licence. Neither side sees much of an issue in this and the EPA has put up its hands, so to speak. However, it will not help in meeting the deadline. It was hoped 12 months ago that gas would begin to come ashore at the end of 2014, but I do not see that happening. This will mean it will go into 2015 and, as some Members said, that is to be regretted in the sense that the Corrib field at peak will guarantee 60% of our need. That is a very valuable contribution. Realistically, we are talking about it going into 2015. Again, Senator Ó Clochartaigh is a bit of a Tadhg an dá thaobh on this issue. He is taking both sides of the road with him on it. It would help me if he told me whether he was in favour of the bloody thing coming ashore. There is no point carping about what is or is not going on. The State has bent over backwards to deal with issues raised. In terms of the national interest, the sooner the gas comes ashore, the better.

  That connects into the point my colleague, Senator Kelly, raised about gas supply. This is always an issue and I know what he is talking about in the context of the report of the Western Development Commission and the contribution the network could make if it were extended to certain towns.

Senator Kelly will know it is not entirely separate from the Corrib issue. The fact that the transmission line was constructed from Galway to the Corrib has enabled adjacent towns to be linked up.

  I understand why public representatives representing their own area would want to have the option of gas but there is a regulatory model that judges whether a particular application passes an economic viability test. That is a dynamic phenomenon that changes according to the circumstances in the given town. In Macroom and Nenagh, for example, it was reviewed on the basis of additional information made available. Senator Kelly raises the point of Shannonside and the particular situation regarding Ballaghaderreen. Ballaghaderreen is not one of the adjacent towns in terms of the pipeline but it does have a significant employer, Shannonside, which is located in Roscommon, not in Mayo; it is on the road out. However, I am all the more favourably disposed towards it for that.

  Arrabawn in Nenagh was a major factor, as I understand it, in the review of the decision in respect of Nenagh. Nenagh and Macroom are now being connected. There is nothing that prevents a town like Ballaghaderreen re-entering its case but there is an economic viability test in that where it is estimated that the effect of the construction of the pipeline to a more distant town or urban location would result in the prices increasing generally to consumers of gas, that is not permitted. That is the situation we would have to confront there but it seems to me that in the constant review that goes on, there is a serious case to be made there.

  I accept the argument being advanced by Senator Kelly that in terms of savings it could mean a great deal to business in a given town. Senator Mooney raises the same point about Sligo. In terms of economic activity and savings to companies generating employment, there is no doubt but that the extension of the network would be very helpful.

Posted Date: 
22 October 2013