Independent Media Centre Ireland

Rossport Solidarity Night in Donegal

category donegal | environment | news report author Friday July 21, 2006 02:48author by Searc

Where were the Politicians?

Big crowd in Ballybofey support the Rossport Campaign but, as usual, where were the TDs?

The Donegal Rossport support group held a well attended benefit for the Rossport Campaign in Ballybofey tonight.
The assembled heard Donegal man Fr Kevin O'Hara relate the horrendous situation in Nigeria where, for forty years, the Nigerian people have had to endure the ignominy of having multinational oil companies exploit their natural resources without giving anything back to the local communities, rather they are heavily polluting the Niger Delta.
Kevin showed a dvd of his parish in Nigeria where water and ground pollution is everywhere and where the local people have now resorted to violence to eject the oil companies.
He introduced the concept of the 'social license' and how oil companies must earn the right to exploit natural resources - something which evidently has not operated in Ireland to date.
He explained how the social license of such companies has long since disappeared in NIgeria - how the oil companies promised to reinvest in the community initially but instead have blantantly destroyed the environment. He also explained how their valiant and legal methods to try and make the oil companies lessen the pollution fell on deaf ears at the courts in the Hague.
He then asked a very poignant question - How can the Ireland be the only County in the world to give away the rights to our natural resources to big business?
This was reiterated by the 3 of the Rossport 5 who attended the gig - they are under no illusion about the methods of big business and their government collaborators.

So why then is Sinn Fein backing a private company's application for the license to exploit the Donegal oil and gas fields?
Do they really believe that half a dozen Donegal businessmen have the resources to drill and will then deliver up their profits to the people rather than sell the license on to those who have the money to bring in the gas or oil for profit?
This a global issue with a parochial twist - parish pump politics or as Kevin O'Hara's documentary was so aptly titled 'the goat in the flow station'...

What was blantantly clear was that all there knew that Rossport today could be Donegal tomorrow.

The oil and gas off the Irish coast belongs to the people living in Ireland - the law must be changed to limit the rights of private enterprise in relation to our natural resources, and any decisions must be taken by referendum of the people and not by a politician's stroke.

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