The Great Gas Giveaway

We are simply giving away our gas – at a time when the state’s finances are severely strapped. Reclaiming even a portion of the revenues that should rightfully be ours would obviate the need for the severe expenditure cut-backs now occurring and would allow us stimulate the economy to relieve the impact of the recession and boost employment. For example, the estimated cost of building the Metro North is €3.7 billion, a sum that could comfortably be financed from the revenues which should be accruing from the Corrib and other sites. Simply investing the €1 billion that would arise from a 10 per cent stake in the Corrib field alone would generate a revenue stream that would obviate the need for such penny-pinching measures as the closure of three wards in Crumlin Children’s Hospital because of a €9.6 million deficit. The out-ofhours social service helpline recommended in the recent Monageer report, and which the government tells us we cannot afford, could easily be financed – its estimated cost is only €15 million. The €156 million savings from scrapping the Christmas social welfare bonus could readily be recouped by judicious investment of even a small proportion of what the government’s stake should be in the country’s oil and gas reserves.

The licensing terms for offshore oil and gas exploration, development and production, available on the website of the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources website, state that “The Minister may, for such period as the Minister deems necessary, require that specified exploration, exploitation, production or processing activities should cease… subject to conditions which the Minister may specify, in any case where the Minister is satisfied that it is desirable to do so in order to reduce the risk of injury to the person, waste of petroleum or damage to property or the environment. No claim for compensation may be made against the Minister on foot of any such requirement”. This clause needs to be invoked now so that people’s human rights can be protected, the environment preserved, and resources redirected to serve the needs of the Irish people.

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