"Agencies of the State got involved on the side of the developer, rather than on the side of the community. Given that alternative models were available in other countries, it was scandalous that we proceeded as we did. It reveals the mindset of certain people. I am reminded of the woman who was sent to jail in New York, who said that taxes are for small people. In this case, it seems that planning is not for big people…….
I refer again to the notion that some projects are too big for public accountability and transparency in planning. I am not making accusations that I cannot support."
In 2006, the Department of Communications, Energy & Natural Resources (DCENR) estimated that the amount of gas and oil off Ireland’s west coast, is a potential 10 BBOE (billion barrels of oil equivalent). Based on the average price of a barrel of oil for 2010 of $80, this works out at $800 billion, or €600 billion.
- Do you believe that the Irish people should benefit from any exploitation of the estimated €600 billion of oil & gas off the west coast of Ireland?
A 2007 report by the United States Government Accountability Office found that only Cameroon took a lower share of the revenues from its own oil or gas resources than Ireland. In December 2010, Brian Ó Catháin, who previously was in charge of the Corrib Gas Project stated he expected “that Corrib will never pay tax”.
- Do you agree that it is time to renegotiate the deal that Bertie Ahern and Ray Burke gave to the oil companies?
As it currently stands Ireland has no control over how oil & gas found on Irish land and waters is used. Even with the world-wide recession, oil prices have risen steadily for the last 2 years. Despite this the Government seem intent on giving away control of these resources. In 2011, the Government hope to open up over ¼ million square kilometres to the oil companies for exploration.
- Do you agree that all further exploration licences, lease undertakings and petroleum leases should be halted until a complete review of oil and gas terms is carried out with changes agreed by the Irish public through a referendum?
Shell have received an unprecedented Compulsory Acquisition Orders (CAO) over land in Glengad and Aughoose despite some of the landowners being totally opposed to Shell's plans for the area. Shell are proposing to put up fencing and engage security to keep people off their own land.
- Do you agree that taking away people's property rights for the sole benefit of foreign multinationals is wrong?
The unique high pressure raw gas pipeline runs through a community close to houses, schools and crosses a main road. An Bord Pleanala initially refused to give permission to over 2/3 of the pipeline that Shell suggested but eventually gave permission to the most dangerous part of the project at Glengad after lobbying from the Department of Energy.
- Do you accept that political pressure shouldn't be used to interfere with the planning process in particular with projects which endanger members of the public?
Shell have been granted permission to lay a 5km long tunnel with a diameter of 4.2m through an area that has been designated as a Special Area of Conservation under EU law.
- Do you agree that environmental law should apply to everyone in Ireland including powerful companies?
Political Parties Stand on the Issues
Fine Gael Policy – Past & Present
Jim Higgins – Fine Gael MEP - 5th July 2001
"I'm at a total loss to know as to why the government is so benign, so benovalent, and so generous in terms of dealing with oil companies and effectively in my opinion selling the family silver because that is really what's happening here”
“If you’re giving a far a more generous set of terms and conditions than other jurisdictions are giving in terms of the development of your natural resources, one has to ask why and I'm at a loss to know why"
Leo Varadkar – Fine Gael Energy Spokesperson - 3rd November 2010
“We have no plans to change or review the current tax regime for oil and gas.”
Labour Policy – Past & Present
Dick Spring - 20th October 1987 – the leader of the Labour Party
“We will now, as a result of the changes this Government have made, get absolutely no return whatever from the development of any foreseeable oil find .....
What is most serious about this development is that there has been, up to now, a certain level of national consensus about how we should view our natural resources — even parties that did not really believe it were prepared to pay lip service to the notion that the natural resources of Ireland belonged to the people of Ireland. In the breaking of that consensus, and in their cold-blooded decision to give those resources away, Fianna Fáil have committed what I have already described as an act of economic treason, one for which I believe they should not be forgiven by the young people and by the people at large.”
Liz McManus - Labour energy spokeswoman – in November 2007 refused to support a motion calling for the renegotiation of the oil and gas terms saying that it would leave the State open to paying compensation to the oil companies.
For more information see: www.shelltosea.com