"The government has relinquished control over the offshore areas of our industry. Norway was tough regarding oil companies from the start. You now have an almost embarrassingly large pension fund. The situation for Irish communities, however, is as in Ogoniland in Nigeria - oil is a curse,”
Sinn Féin senator, Trevor Ó Clochartaigh, has accused Minister Pat Rabbitte of mistaking the demand of communities to benefit and own their natural resources for “soft-headed romanticism”.
During a debate in the Seanad on Natural Resources Minister Rabbitte stated “something about the sea brings out a soft-headed romanticism in Irish people which I find very difficult to deal with.”
The minister’s comments followed Senator Ó Clochartaigh’s raising of the campaign by rural communities such as those in North Mayo for a transparent and democratic way of exploiting our natural resources.
“The Minister’s dismissal of campaigning communities as being somehow infected with “soft-headed romanticism” shows how out-of-touch this government is with rural Ireland and how flippantly they are prepared to steamroll local concerns to facilitate multinationals who stand to potentially make billions out of Ireland’s natural resources.
“Sinn Féin will stand with communities against intimidation and harassment and will argue that the people of Ireland should benefit from Ireland’s resources. This means the state taking a 51% share in all oil and gas finds as the Norwegian government does and the establishment of a state enterprise to manage our stake and ensure that the Irish people reap the benefits of what belongs to them. That is not soft-headed nationalism - it is practical economic way of running this society.”