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Fianna Fáil’s Final Act of Treachery


Cathaoirleach éirígí Brian Leeson has described Pat Carey’s decision to grant consent to Shell to construct the onshore pipeline from the Corrib gas field to the Bellinaboy refinery “as the final act of treachery by a discredited Fianna Fáil government”.

It has emerged that the former Twenty-Six County minister of energy, communications and natural resources signed the consents on the day of general election. Carey, who replaced Eamon Ryan when the Green Party withdrew from the coalition government, was only in office a matter of weeks. His decision to give consents for the onshore pipeline is redolent of former Twenty-Six County minister of the marine and natural resources Frank Fahey’s actions on the day of the 2002 general election when he granted a foreshore licence to Enterprise Energy Ireland, the consortium in control of the Corrib gas field.

The decision to grant the consents comes in the wake of last month’s An Bord Pleanála approval of Shell’s plan to construct a tunnel under Sruth Fada Conn estuary, which is a Special Area of Conservation. The tunnel will contain a high pressure experimental gas pipeline and represents one of the final elements in securing Shell’s raid on Irish natural resources. The health and safety of the Erris community is being sacrificed in the interests of private profit.

The underhand manner in which the consent was provided demonstrates the contempt in which the political establishment in the Twenty-Six Counties holds the people and how in thrall the state is to big business. The current recession and the sterling work of the Shell to Sea campaign in which éirígí continues to play an active role, ensured that the issue of how the state manages its natural resources was a key issue during the Twenty-Six County general election campaign.

There is now a much greater level of public awareness of the giveaway of our natural resources and the corrupt deals between successive Fianna Fáil administrations and the oil corporations. Multinationals such as Shell have effective control over our oil and gas with an estimated value in excess of €500 billion. At the same time, working people are being impoverished in order to settle the gambling debts of bankers and property speculators.

The establishment mantra that there is no alternative to the IMF/EU-imposed austerity programme is a fallacy. The Fianna Fáil/Green Party coalition chose to burden working people with extraordinary levels of private debt while continuing to protect the wealthy and the profits of private corporations. A new Fine Gael-led government is committed to the same anti-social policies and will be no different to the outgoing Fianna Fáil-led government.

Unsurprisingly, the Independent group of newspapers has been the chief media cheerleader of Fine Gael. Incidentally, one of its owners, Tony O’Reilly is chief executive of Providence Resources, a company that controls the Dalkey Island prospect, estimated to contain 800 million barrels of oil. The company also controls significant resources in the Dunquin and Spanish Point fields, both of which contain significant levels of gas and oil. O’Reilly will no doubt use his wealth and influence in an attempt to ensure that the lucrative deal for the oil corporations remains unchanged.

Brian Leeson said: “Pressure must be brought to bear on the incoming government to overturn Pat Carey’s shoddy deal.

“The people of Erris have the right to live in peace and safety and the people of Ireland have the right to benefit from the vast reserves of oil and gas currently in the hands of oil giants. While the political establishment continues to facilitate private multinationals, the campaign to defend our natural resources is far from over.”