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Corrib gas 'giveaway'

By: 
Letters - Irish Times

 

A chara, – The jailing of retired school principal and Shell To Sea campaigner Maura Harrington on December 10th demonstrates once again that there is no length to which the State will not go to silence opposition to the great Corrib gas giveaway.

The silence surrounding this monumental scandal in Ireland Inc has been deafening.

During a period of savage cost saving cuts to essential public services, many may find it shocking to know that we have vast oil and gas reserves off the west coast which the Government estimates is valued at a staggering €540 billion (Department of Communications, Energy Natural Resources, 2008). However, for reasons still unknown, in 1987 and 1992, ministers Ray Burke and Bertie Ahern made bizarre changes to the law governing Irish gas and oil exploration. They reduced the State’s share in these resources from 50 per cent to 0 per cent, abolished all royalties to the State and slashed the tax rates.

According to former Statoil director, Mike Cunningham said that no other country in the world has given the oil companies such favourable terms. On top of this the Irish taxpayers are paying for a massive policing regime to force the pipeline and gas refinery, over which many safety questions have been raised, onto a community in north west Mayo that is genuinely afraid of this project. Their well-founded fears were recently vindicated by a decision from An Bórd Pleanála.

It is now time that the people shout stop and demand that our Government re-negotiate new terms with the oil and gas corporations that are more favourable to this country.

Meanwhile, we suffer further cost saving cuts to essential public services; the Shell corporation records revenues of €458 billion and those who dare to dissent, such as Maura Harrington could face the grim prospect of spending Christmas in Mountjoy Jail. Ireland Inc indeed! – Is mise,

FIONNTÁN Ó SUILLEABHÁIN,

An Phort Thoir,

Baile Átha Cliath 3.