"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,”
Madam, - The Irish Times is the only national newspaper providing a detailed chronicle of the unfolding and complex Corrib gas controversy. This is an indictment of Irish print media. It is also a reflection of the fourth estate's lazy response to corporate spin.
Moreover, it clearly exposes the damning depoliticisation of our nation. People should be screaming for answers regarding the disgraceful sell-off of natural resources by successive Fianna Fáil ministers - despite Terry Nolan's efforts to absolve government responsibilities (Opinion, October 21st.)
It would greatly benefit those in the higher editorial echelons of our newspapers to spend some professional time away from their desks, procul ab urbe. There is always a hot cup of tea and a warm welcome available in the sheep trailer at the Bellanaboy gate, headquarters of the Shell to Sea campaign. It is served by ordinary, decent people whose lives have been transformed by extraordinary circumstances. - Yours, etc,
Upper Quay Road,
Madam, - Terry Nolan of Shell's call for "real dialogue" on the Erris pipeline/refinery stand-off does not convince. He says, for example, that "the project has been through a rigorous planning and consents process". This is disingenuous: did he not notice Lorna Siggins's report in your edition of October 19th which referred to omissions from the original environmental impact statement regarding cold venting (the release of contaminated gas into the atmosphere), and explained how the Oireachtas Committee on Communications, Marine and Natural Resources refused to allow North Mayo residents to address it on this issue?
In fact, complete planning permission has not been achieved by Shell, which has consistently played one agency, authority or office against another, sowing confusion and baffling the uninitiated public.
Nor should it be forgotten that the "rigorous planning process" also included the exemption of the pipeline from the process and the overruling by An Bord Pleanála of its own inspectors' concerns as to health, safety and location - on the grounds of national interest, whatever that may mean.
Surely the national interest would have been much better served had Shell from the very beginning agreed to a shallow-platform refinery instead of one 9km inland. Had it done that, the gas would no doubt be flowing already: time saved, money saved, tempers saved, gardaí back in their own stations looking after the people they are paid to protect.
Moreover, Minister Noel Dempsey has refused point blank to meet and talk to Shell to Sea.
Terry Nolan's cry that we "put our faith in the Government that we elect and the statutory bodies of the State" is singularly brazen in the light of these circumstances. - Yours, etc,
and JOHN ARDEN,
St Bridget's Place Lower,
Madam, - As the controversy over the Corrib gas terminal continues, the following lines, written after the passing of the Act of Union in 1801, come to mind:
"How did they pass the Union?/ By perjury and fraud,/ By slaves that sold their land for gold/ As Judas sold his God."
So also does a line from Mise Éire by P.H. Pearse: "Mór mo náir: mo chlann féin a dhíol a máthair." - Yours, etc,
St Conlon's Road,