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Corrib Gas controversy - Letter to Irish Times

12 Councillors - Letter To The Irish Times

Madam, – The Front Line report into the Corrib Gas Project and related matters was criticised by Brendan Cafferty (May 4th).

We wish to draw the attention to a number of issues dealt with in the Front Line report.

First, the report draws our attention to the incredibly favourable terms of the licence given to the oil companies in this project. The Irish people will receive no royalties from the natural gas extracted from our shores. In fact the people of Norway stand to benefit more from our gas than we do since Statoil has a 36.5 per cent share in the project and is a state-owned company. This is all the more alarming given the current and foreseeable economic gloom facing this country. An expected €420 billion worth of gas has been given away to the oil companies when we need those resources to fund our public services such as health, education, transport and social welfare.

Second, the report is critical of An Garda Síochána’s handling of the protests in Co Mayo. At least four of the signatories below have been witness to the heavy-handed approach of gardaí and two have lodged complaints of assault with the Garda Ombudsman that have been rejected for investigation along with dozens of others.

Lastly, the reference in the report to the sinking of the boat of a local fisherman Pat O’Donnell raises serious questions about the lack of any proper investigation into this incident.

Yet Pat O’Donnell has been found guilty of harassment of gardaí and sentenced to a harsh seven months prison term.

We find it totally hypocritical that a local fisherman who protests to protect his livelihood, family and environment, is serving a prison sentence while nobody has been made accountable for the incredible degree of criminal activity in the banking and financial sector which has helped to bring our economy to its knees.

To add insult to injury the Prison Service has refused Pat O’Donnell a day’s leave to attend his daughter’s communion in his home town about two hours’ drive from the prison. We have written to the prison service to appeal this decision.

Local people in Erris will continue to oppose the great gas giveaway to Shell and the other oil companies. All of us should oppose the stripping of our natural resources for the benefit of the profits of multinationals and not for the benefit of our people. – Yours, etc,

Councillors CLARE DALY (Fingal County Council),

JOAN COLLINS (Dublin City Council),

RICHARD BOYD BARRETT (Dún Laoghaire/ Rathdown Council),

DECLAN BREE (Sligo County Council),

CHRIS O’LEARY (Cork County Council),

BRID SMITH (Dublin City Council),

HUGH LEWIS (Dún Laoghaire/Rathdown Council),

CIARAN PERRY (Dublin City Council),

DAMIEN O’FARRELL (Dublin City Council),

GINO KENNY (South Dublin County Council),

MICK BARRY (Cork County Council),

THOMAS PRINGLE (Donegal County Council), C/o City Hall, Dublin 2.