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Press Release: Ballyroe oil find exposes absurdity of Rabbitte's oil & gas licensing

-- Discovery will not guarantee any jobs, security of supply or other benefits for Ireland --

The discovery of oil at the Ballyroe field off Co Cork by Providence Resources exposes the absurdity of Pat Rabbitte's rush to hand out oil and gas exploration licenses last October, Shell to Sea has claimed. On October 17th 2011, despite widespread calls for a moratorium, Minister for Energy and Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte issued exploration licences for 250,000sq km of the Atlantic shelf. [1][2]

Rabbitte proceeded to issue licences just as Providence was embarking on what it called "the largest co-ordinated multi-basin drilling programme carried out offshore Ireland" and also before an Oireachtas committee has reported back on its review of Ireland's oil and gas terms.[3]

At the time, a former Statoil board member, Stein Bredal, questioned Pat Rabbitte's haste in issuing the licenses: “Energy prices are only going up, so why is your Minister in such a hurry, when he should be guaranteeing jobs and a greater return to the Irish taxpayer if there is a find?”[4]

Shell rules in Mayo

The Phoenix Magazine

"PROTESTERS cannot take the law into their own hands," has been one of the stock responses to the civil disobedience practised by the besieged communities around Shell's inland gas refinery project in north Mayo.  One wonders why the same mantra is never directed at Shell and it's private security company, Integrated Risk Management Services  (IRMS).

These 2 campaigners were illegally detained by IRMS for about 15 minutes on the public road

Posted Date: 
9 March 2012

Quiet roads: 'Lock-on' roadblock stops Shell for over 5 hours

j debender - Rossport Solidarity Camp - Indymedia

Despite heavy sentencing in Belmullet district court two weeks ago, people continue blocking roads in Mayo

At 7.30am on Thursday 8th March, a group of people from the Rossport Solidarity Camp blocked Shell's haulage route between Ballinaboy refinery and Shell's tunneling compound in Aughoose. They set up a concrete lock-on which two people inserted their arms into, making it very difficult for gardaí to remove them.

Concrete lock-on blocking Shell's haulage route
Concrete lock-on blocking Shell's haulage route

Posted Date: 
8 March 2012

Court report from Shell to Sea special sitting Belmullet Feb 20th - 24th

Rossport Solidarity Camp - Indymedia

Justice is blind - Judge Victor Blake ignores compelling video evidence to convict

Between the 20th and 24th of February 2012, 19 campaigners were tried at a 'special sitting' of Belmullet District Court, for alleged offences arising from protest against the Corrib gas project. Most of those tried were for Section 8 and 9 of the Public Order Act. Section 9 is obstructing 'the free passage of a person/vehicle’ in a public place and section 8 is failure to obey the directions of a Garda.

Overall the judge came down very heavily on the defendants. The hearings began only one week after public criticism from the minister for Justice Alan Shatter against what he called “protest tourism”. One campaigner received a prison sentence and three others received suspended sentences. Fines for all cases totalled €8350.

Another Corrib special sitting
Another Corrib special sitting

Posted Date: 
7 March 2012

Submission to Oireachtas Committee reviewing oil and gas exploration licensing

William Hederman -

Last month (December 2011) I was invited to make a written submission to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Communications, Natural Resources and Agriculture, which is reviewing Ireland’s licensing terms for oil and gas exploration. My submission is below. 


Joint Committee on Communications, Natural Resources and Agriculture

Offshore Exploration: Discussion

Submission by journalist William Hederman

Supported by Dr Andy Storey, School of Politics & International Relations, University College Dublin

December 12th, 2011

I am a freelance journalist. I am also a campaigner in a voluntary capacity. In the past year, I have carried out extensive research into issues around Ireland’s management of its hydrocarbon resources. I was motivated to do this by the fact that debate on the topic has been so poorly informed. My research has resulted in several significant – and alarming – revelations. Chief among these is the existence of an industry report which shows that, because of the extraordinary tax write-offs available under Ireland’s licensing terms, the State ‘take’ from gas fields in Irish waters is likely to be closer to 5% than to the 25% – or 40% – that is widely perceived to be the case.

Posted Date: 
27 February 2012
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