Skip to main content

Mark Garavan, Seanad Éireann election candidate

Norway's Gain - Ireland's ShameStatement from Dr Mark Garavan, NUI Seanad Candidate (28/2/07)Yesterday, the Norwegian Central Bank reported that the country's 'Oil Fund' - the revenues from the oil and gas industry extracted by the Norwegian State for the pensions of its citizens - stood at a whopping NOK 1,784 trillion (about USD 291 billion) by the end of 2006. This is equivalent to 220.6 billion euros. Given Norway's population of 4.7 million this amounts to there being 46,900 euro invested for pension purposes for every citizen.This wise and efficient State planning stands in sharp contrast to the Irish governments appalling misuse of our indigenous gas reserves. Corrib gas is being given away with minimal benefits to the Irish people. No royalties are being extracted, no equity share taken, no windfall tax levied. All exploration and development costs can be written off against tax at 100% from Year One. This is at a time when we are hearing ongoing horror stories from the country's hospitals.To criticize this shocking situation is not to adopt an ideological position. It is simply bad business, bad management and takes the term 'rip-off republic' to new heights. What Irish citizens deserve is nothing more radical or subversive than simply the Norwegian model. First, community agreement to oil and gas projects which directly impact on their health and safety. Second, real benefits derived from those projects to benefit all the nation's citizens. The tragedy of Corrib is that the citizens of Norway will receive more benefits from this resource than the citizens of Ireland. Norway's gain is Ireland's shame.For verification contact Mark Garavan 087-9023687

Welcome for Green Party vote on Corrib
February 26, 2007 at 12:42 pm | In Statements |

I welcome the unanimous vote at the Green Party conference that the Greens in government would not sign a pipeline consent for the Corrib gas project until a full, independent review has been conducted into the project. The Green Party are to be congratulated for demonstrating political leadership on this issue and for recognising that the Corrib project requires a fundamental evaluation so that the safest development concept is employed and that maximum benefits accrue locally and nationally from this natural resource.

The Corrib gas conflict has been allowed to continue for far too long. It has caused division and deep distress for many people in the small communities directly affected by the project. This must end. Political management has been absent from the outset. This too must end. It is not good enough that the Tanaiste can hail the apparent suspension of the proposed incinerator for Poolbeg as ‘a victory for local democracy’ yet fail to recognise similar rights for the people of North Mayo.

The only way forward is through a political solution that recognises the rights of communities to participate meaningfully in decisions which directly affect their health, safety, environment and quality of life. The refusal to accept that important principle is at the heart of the present conflict.

Poolbeg is a ‘Victory for local democracy’, says Minister. What about Corrib?
February 21, 2007 at 3:48 pm | In Statements | No Comments

Minister McDowell has today hailed the possible decision not to proceed with the proposed Poolbeg incinerator as a ‘victory for local democracy’. If this is so, why do the Minister and the government not acknowledge the same right of local democracy to the threatened communities of Bellanaboy and Rossport in North Mayo? They are similarly faced with the imposition of an unwanted project which they believe will threaten their health and safety. Surely the same standards should apply in Mayo as in Dublin? Democracy is indivisible and should be applied to all citizens not just to those who merely happen to be constituents of a government Minister.

McDowell is wrong on Corrib gas
February 19, 2007 at 2:21 pm | In Statements | No Comments

Statement February 17th, 2007McDowell is wrong on Corrib gas
At the PD Party Conference yesterday, party leader Michael McDowell again made reference to the strategic importance of developing the Corrib gas field. He was also critical of those political parties who are supporting the campaign against the present development proposal.

Mr. McDowell is simply wrong on a number of grounds. First, opposition to the Corrib gas development is not centred on stopping the development of gas but on the specific processing proposal being made by Shell.

Second, no strategic importance to do with the project has ever been demonstrated. Is it security of supply? No, because Bord Gas makes it quite clear that most Irish gas comes from the North Sea and that there is no medium term threat to the continuity of those supplies. Is it lower cost? No, the price of gas is determined by global market forces and Corrib will be purchased at full market price. Are there significant financial benefits to the State? Again no. No royalties are being extracted, no equity share taken, no windfall tax levied. All exploration and development costs can be written off against tax at 100% from year one. Thus very little financial benefit will arise. Might there be jobs from the project? Minimal, other than in the short-term construction of the plant. Once the plant is operational only fifty jobs will be needed. The companies are not obliged to employ Irish workers on their exploration rigs nor do they have to source their supplies from Ireland.

I challenge Mr. McDowell to deny these facts or disprove them. The reality is that instead of securing an indigenous gas supply that could be strategically utilised and be a source of national wealth, the Corrib gas has been privitised and is in effect another source of imported gas to be bought at full market rate. Assertions and bluster to the contrary won’t obscure the woeful government mismanagement of this resource.
For verification or comment contact Mark Garavan 087-9023687

Posted Date: 
5 September 2007 - 8:42pm