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éirígí slams Lenihan's Valentines gift to oil companies printable version
15 Feb 2011: posted by the editor - Ireland
éirígí chairperson Brian Leeson has slammed yesterday's decision by outgoing Minister for Natural Resources Conor Lenihan, to award onshore petroleum licences for the massive resource rich areas of Lough Allen Basin and Clare Basin. The Lough Allen Basin straddles several counties in the north west: Mayo; Donegal; Cavan; Monaghan; Sligo; Roscommon and Leitrim, while the Clare Basin straddles four counties in the south west: Clare; Limerick; Cork and Kerry.
The licence for Lough Allen covers almost 1,500 sq km and will be shared between Australian oil company Tamboran Resources and the Lough Allen Natural Gas Company/Finavera Gas, while the licence for the Clare Basin has been awarded to the Canadian company Enegi Oil and covers an area of 495 sq km.
The éirígí chairperson said: ‘This Valentines Day gift to oil companies present in the dying days of a discredited government indicates the contempt in which Fianna Fáil treats the people of this state. For generations we have been told that this state has no natural resources of its own. That is a lie - this is a resource rich country.’
He continued, ‘Fianna Fáil and their second cousins in Fine Gael are intent on heaping the burden of privately accumulated banking debt upon the shoulders of working people. Both of these parties have told the electorate during the course of the general election campaign that there is no alternative but to bail out the banks and sign up to an austerity programme with the IMF.
‘Yet according to figures from the Department of Communication, Energy and Natural Resources there is hundreds of billions of euro worth of oil and gas both offshore and onshore, which has been given away to the oil companies.
‘Drawing parallels with the continuing conflict in north Mayo, Leeson said; ‘Both Lough Allen and the Clare Basin contain are areas of scenic beauty and we have seen the disastrous approach adopted in Corrib, in which the government has given Shell free rein to trample over the rights of local communities. There has been no consultation with local communities about the potential damage that will be done in these areas.’
In conclusion, the éirígí chairperson called for the nationalisation of the state's massive oil and gas reserves, ‘Previous surveys carried out by the Finevara Gas company indicate that the entire Lough Allen basin, contains 9.4 trillion cubic feet of gas, equivalent in pricing terms to 1.5 billion barrels of oil. This is over nine times the size of the Corrib gas field and could therefore be worth in the region of €100 billion.’
‘The Shell to Sea campaign in north Mayo, in which éirígí has played an active role, has saved this state €10 billion by frustrating Shell’s plans to raid the Corrib field. Any incoming government must commit to scrapping the disastrous 1987 Ray Burke deal in which the state ceded control of its oil and gas. The massive resources in Lough Allen, the Clare Basin and elsewhere must be nationalised and the resources used to invest in jobs and public services.’
éirígí is an Ireland-wide, socialist republican political party, formed in 2006 to provide a vehicle for the national, social and economic liberation of the people of Ireland.
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