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Doherty disappointed about Pat the Cope's stance

Press release 16th August 2005 Doherty deeply disappointed that marine minister Noel Dempsey sells of Donegal’s natural resources while Junior minister Pat the cope stands idly by. Donegal Sinn Fein County councilor Pearse Doherty has described as disgraceful today’s decision to offer 1,650 square kilometers of the coast of Donegal for exploration to Shell and Ireland gas and oil plc for exploration under the same terms and conditions as the highly flawed 1992 licensing terms for offshore oil and gas exploration. Cllr. Doherty said “I find it quite remarkable that Minster Dempsey has offered licenses, in which the highly flawed 1992 licensing terms for offshore oil and gas exploration and development will apply. The 1992 Gas exploration legislation is extremely flawed and represents an extremely bad deal for the Irish People. The deal gives no royalties to the government and an extraordinarily low rate of tax, all of which Shell will be able to write off. “At the time of this legislation former Minster Ray Burke, against the advice of senior officials in his department, held a meeting on his own with the oil companies after which the terms and conditions previously attached to licenses were changed dramatically in favor of the companies' “This flawed legislation effectively ends any hope of Ireland benefiting from what Nature has provided for her. An oil tax rate of 25%, was introduced, the lowest in the world, with all costs writable off. (compare this to Norway who has a 78% oil tax ); Abolition of royalties and all other production- related levies was agreed; and the fatal flaw of no commitment by the oil companies to use any Irish jobs, goods or services, means that this vital national resources only benefits the oil companies who will sell back our own oil and gas to us and Ireland will get little if any of the economic spin - offs in terms of services, manufacturing, ship and rig construction, infrastructural development of service ports, refineries, petrol - chemical industries and many thousands of offshore and onshore jobs. “Only a number of weeks ago I challenged Minister Dempsey to suspend this current round of applications of the Donegal coast until terms and conditions could be agreed that would benefit the Irish people. We already have had one oil find of the Donegal coast that is expected to be worth €10.5 billion to shell oil but worth very little to the Irish people. “The Marine Minister Frank Fahey, in 2001, said that in the event of a significant discovery off the Donegal coast during that year that the Government would seriously consider changing the 1992 oil and gas legislation. Yet in 2003 the junior minister for the marine John Browne speaking in relation to the Donegal find said that results clearly demonstrate the presence of a working petroleum system and, as such, have profound implications for the future exploration. “It is reckless in the extreme for Minster Dempsey to issue new licenses without first carrying out a major review of the 1992 legislation. The time has come for this Government to start putting the interests of the Irish People before the corporate interests of the oil and gas companies. Cllr. Doherty concluded: “There is no doubt that with proper terms and conditions any oil or gas find of the Donegal coast would have massive benefit for Donegal for our main ports such as Killybegs and the likes of carrickfinn airport. It could also realize thousand of millions in revenue for the state that could be partially ring fenced to address the economic black spot that is Donegal. With all this in mind the local Minister for the marine Pat the Cope Gallagher has a responsibility to speak out and stop this madness, to explain to the people of Donegal why his party and his government are singing over potentially billions of euro worth of Irish resources that will be of little benefit to the Irish state. ENDS Pearse Doherty 086-3817747

Posted Date: 
21 August 2006 - 1:08am