Government gives away €315 billion to oil corporations!


Long-term Rossport campaigner, Sean Mallory, gives his views on the give away of Ireland’s natural resources and the recession. While the Irish economy was built on a construction boom and massive inward investment, it seemed to go unnoticed that, by our governments own February 2009 estimate, there is €315b euro worth of oil and gas deposits all along our western seaboard. At the same time, the government tells us that it has no money to pay for cervical cancer tests and the construction of specialised multiple sclerosis units, amongst other vital services.

Everyone has heard of Ireland's gas and oil. From time to time, the vicious treatment by the State of the communities in North Mayo trying to stop Shell destroying their area makes national news. What is often neglected is who owns the gas and oil.

A series of multinationals known as the "super-majors" own these resources. Shell, Statoil, Marathon and Esso have been given blocks of offshore areas to explore by the State. Whatever they find, they keep and write all costs, including exploration, off against tax whilst the Irish Government claims nothing.

So, how did we get to this situation? Well it is simple, Shell and the other corporations did business Irish-style. It seems they greased the palms of the usual suspects. The exploration companies got their most favourable terms from Ray Burke in 1987 and Bertie Ahern in 1992.

The opposition were no better. Labour and Fine Gael were in Government after the 1987 and 1992 deals but didn't overturn them. The so-called "clean" party, the Greens, are currently in power with those who have given away our natural resources.

The fact the government won't move on the overly generous deals that the oil and gas companies enjoy gives lie to their "share the pain" rhetoric. The track record of the political parties in the Dail, both in government and in opposition, shows that they have no intention of making the rich and powerful elites pay. Instead, the government is bleeding us dry to get 4 billion while it lets exploration companies walk away with €315b. We are the only ones who are carrying the burden, while they are continuing as normal.

Workers Solidarity 109 May - June 2009 Edition

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