The decision by Pat Rabbitte, Minister for Communications, Energy, and Natural Resources, to issue thirteen new exploration licences for oil and gas in Irish territorial waters is nothing more than the complete abandonment by this state of any control of these resources that belong to the Irish people or the right to derive any significant benefit from them for our people. The Government department responsible estimates reserves to be 10 billion barrels of oil off the west coast. Geological and seismic surveys and drilling results have estimated reserves of 6½ billion barrels of oil and 20 trillion cubic feet of gas. This would be enough to meet Ireland’s energy demands for a hundred years, based on current usage.
Despite his telling Dáil Éireann on 19 April that he accepted that the present licensing terms should be reviewed, Rabbitte has handed over our natural resources, estimated to be worth more than €500 billion, to transnational oil and gas companies. He is continuing the same same policies as previous ministers who were responsible for the great oil and gas rip-off by transnational companies.
The Labour Party minister gives as the reason for the state not developing these resources that it has not got the money, yet his party, with the other party in government, stands over the socialisation of corporate debt at a cost of about €271 billion. Billions of euros will leave the country every year just to service this odious debt. The Irish establishment are pauperising our people and our country, leaving our people to super-exploitation and rip-off.
These valuable resources could be the foundation for developing a more sustainable, planned economic and social development, lessening the dependence on transnational corporations and building a new industrial base, using existing state companies throughout Ireland, north and south.
Eugene McCartan General secretary 17 October 2011