"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."
[Shell to Sea] Please be advised that the Tony O Reilly who is a significant shareholder in the Sunday Independent, also owns oil & gas exploration company Providence Resources.
Pat Rabbitte's use of the word 'we' to refer to who is currently building the tunnel under Sruwaddacon Bay is very telling of his mindset. In the article John Drennan also misquotes Pat Rabbitte's use of the term "soft-headed romanticism". The actual sentence was "Something about the sea brings out a soft-headed romanticism in Irish people with which I find it very difficult to deal". Pat Rabbitte's full speech can be read here
The Minister for Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte has revealed that the true cost of the decade-long Shell to Sea protest is now €2bn, including hundreds of millions directly borne by the taxpayer.
So far the main source of controversy in the Shell to Sea conflict has centred on a current garda policing bill of €14.5m. However, speaking to the Seanad last week, Mr Rabbitte said the real costs of the campaign, which was recently described as "protest tourism" by Alan Shatter, was closer to €2bn.
And he noted that one project alone, occasioned by the protest, has cost the taxpayer €100m in lost tax revenue.
The minister, who is deeply anxious to rebuild the oil and gas industry which has been in decline to such an extent that not a single well was drilled last year, also slammed the "immense reputational damage" that the "soft-headed romanticism" of the Sinn Fein and Green Party-led Rossport campaign had done to the industry.
Mr Rabbitte admitted that initially when it came to the protests "the companies involved in the Corrib field took their eye off the ball and there were genuine local community interests which should have been addressed".
But, he said, "since that time, the State has bent over backwards in every way it can" to ensure "in so far as it is known to man to make safe the bringing ashore of gas."
The minister noted that "uniquely on the planet, we are engaged in constructing a tunnel under Sruwaddacon Bay at a cost of €400m" which would cost the Exchequer €100m in lost taxation.
This, however, was "only a small element of the difference between the €1bn anticipated cost of bringing the gas ashore and the €3bn costs incurred as a result of delays".
Mr Rabbitte also asked of this "victory for the people" whether it really was "a patriotic achievement that the project has cost €2bn more than anticipated [and] immense reputational damage has been done to Ireland abroad."
During the debate, Mr Rabbitte also slammed Sinn Fein proposals that the Government should take a stake in drilling for oil and impose an 80 per cent tax rate on any finds.
He noted that Sinn Fein had ignored "the fact that there is no drilling going on" and said the Sinn Fein position appeared to be informed by nothing more than the desire to have the "comfort blanket" of being able to say "By God, those large oil companies will pay through the nose if they come to Ireland".
Mr Rabbitte added that "Ireland does not have sufficient investment capacity to drill empty wells at a cost of €80m per attempt," and noted he had "a genuine difficulty in understanding how it would be a source of comfort to some people if we had a tax rate of 80 per cent, took a 51 per cent stake and did not find any oil or gas".
- JOHN DRENNAN
Comments by Monicamuller9
"The minister noted that "uniquely on the planet, we are engaged in constructing a tunnel under Sruwaddacon Bay at a cost of €400m" which would cost the Exchequer €100m in lost taxation." Unless Minister Rabbitte is part of Shell E & P Ireland or unless the Irish Nation is a shareholder in Shell E & P IReland, Statoil or Vermillion, 'we' are NOT constructing a tunnel. The Corrib partners are. As for the 100 million in tax, it is a fallacy as the fiscal terms for oil and gas exploration in Ireland permit the Corrib Partners to offset all development and construction costs against tax liabilities for a long time. Excellent reported by esteemed economist Colm Rapple, persistently ignored by Minister Rabbitte. In the end it does not even matter for the Corrib partners, offset they will to the detriment of the Irish exchequer. It is a farce indeed. Norway was originally told that 'there is no oil and gas in Norwegian waters, Norway will never be an oil and gas nation'; well, Norwegian ministers exercised caution. Minister Rabbitte's decisions and what I can only describe as rant in the Dail is entirely based on his unshakable belief that Ireland has little oil and gas and Norway has plenty. 'Apples and oranges'. Norway's decision makers adopted caution in times of poor expectations and even poorer economic situation, Norway has an oil and gas industry. Ireland will never become one.
Mayo News 9 November 2009
My view was clear from the beginning. I always said the Corrib field should be harvested, with due regard to the highest standards of safety and the environment,” Enda Kenny said.
“I respect An Bord Pleanála’s (ABP) recent decision. It is an independent and competent body that is removed from any influence. They have made their decision and now Shell has to respond to that,” he continued.
Deputy Kenny was referring to the board’s recent dramatic decision, which stated that almost half the new route was ‘unacceptable’ on safety grounds and suggested the developer explore the feasibility of another route, up the Sruwaddacon estuary.
“Six years ago I did say put the pipe up the bay (Sruwaddacon),” Kenny added
Are ABP and Enda Kenny now responsible for the costs???? ABP for refusing planning applications and Enda Kenny for the proposal to route through the bay?