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Donegal county council calls for the suspension of the current round of

category donegal | miscellaneous | press release author Tuesday August 01, 2006 16:38author by S2S Network Report this post to the editors

Today's announcement from Island oil and gas that they have discovered
a significant gas find of the south coast of Ireland reinforces correct
decision taken by the council

Donegal County Council has unanimously supported a Sinn Fein motion
calling on the government to ensure that any future oil and gas
exploration licences are only granted when clear benefits can be guaranteed for
the people of Ireland. The council also called for the suspension of the
current round of applications that are due to be granted this week,
until the terms and conditions attached to the licences are reviewed and a
better deal struck for the people.

In welcoming the decision taken by Donegal county council, Cllr. Pearse
Doherty said that today's announcement from Island oil and gas, that
they have discovered a significant gas find of the south coast of Ireland
reinforces the correct decision taken by the council.

Cllr. Doherty said,
Donegal County Council's support for my motion is an important step
forward in the campaign to insure that our natural resources that lie of
our coast are not exploited by large multinational oil and gas
companies but are instead harnessed with a clear benefit being brought to the
Irish people. A clear signal has now being sent to this government that
all parties on Donegal county council accept that there has been little
benefit to the state in the granting of previous exploration licenses,
and are now calling on the government to immediately address this
disgraceful situation where our oil and gas reserves are being given away.
I have consistently called on the government to suspend the Frontier
Exploration Licenses applications off the coast of Donegal and have
demanded an immediate review of the present terms and conditions that apply
to these offshore oil and gas exploration licenses. I have done so
because the current licensing terms for offshore oil and gas exploration
are highly flawed and represent an extremely bad deal for the Irish

"Theses terms and conditions end any hope of Ireland benefiting from
what nature has provided for her. The terms include an oil tax rate of
25%, the lowest in the world, all of which can be written off, it
includes the abolition of royalties, which mean that we now have to buy our
own gas back from these companies at the current market cost with no
reduction to the state and it also has ended all other production- related
levies. The fatal flaw in these terms and conditions is that there is
no commitment by the oil companies to use any Irish jobs, goods or
services. All of these initiates have resulted in that out of the 102 oil
and gas producing countries, Ireland has the most generous terms and
conditions for the oil companies in the world.

In debating this motion the application from Grianan energy, the
Donegal based oil exploration company was discussed, as an example of a
company that agree that these licenses are a giveaway, and as a result have
offered to allocate 10% of their profits to an independently run
charitable trust that will invest this money in infrastructure, health and
education projects in Donegal and the west of Ireland. While recognizing
that this application offers a tangible difference to the other
applications, it is my belief and as I stated during the debate on the motion,
that the harnessing of our oil and gas must result in real benefits to
the Irish and 10% of own resources does not go far enough.

Therefore the only way to ensure that Donegal and other counties
benefit is to change the term and conditions, to ensure that all companies
that are allocated licenses pay their fair share to the state and also
bring benefits to the local economy.

"Sinn Fein has consistently challenged the government to suspend this
current round of applications which are only 30 kilometers of the
Donegal coast until terms and conditions could be agreed that would benefit
the Irish people. We need a major review of the 1992 legislation and
until such times as this happens the Government must put the interests of
the Irish People before the corporate interests of the oil and gas

"The Marine Minister Frank Fahey, in 2001, said that in the event of a
significant discovery off the Donegal coast during that year that the
Government would seriously consider changing the 1992 oil and gas
legislation. With today's announcement from Island oil and gas that they have
discovered a significant gas find of the south coast of Ireland I now
challenge the government to end the giveaway and live up to ministers
Fahey's commitment of 2001.

"There is no doubt that with proper terms and conditions any oil or gas
find of the Donegal coast would have massive benefit for Donegal.
However it is reckless in the extreme for Minster Dempsey to issue new
licenses without first carrying out a major review of the 1992 legislation.
The time has come for this Government to start putting the interests of
the Irish People before the corporate interests of the oil and gas
companies. In the present economic crisis we must have a clear explanation
from the government with regard to their handing over of potentially
billions of euro worth of Irish resources that will be of little benefit
to the Irish state and I and Donegal County Council are calling on the
government to stop issuing licenses that will have little benefit to
the state and to suspend these applications until a full review has been

Note to editor
Sinn Fein motion adopted by Donegal County Council
That this council recognize that the granting of oil and gas licenses
to multinationals has had little benefit to Donegal and call on the
government to ensure that the current round of oil and gas exploration
licenses are granted to ensure that the people of Donegal will benefit
from the natural resources that nature has provided for her.
In the absence of this that the current round is suspended and the
terms and conditions of the licenses are reviewed.

Pearse Doherty

Related Link: http://www.shelltosea.com
author by m.m.mccarron - osipublication date Wed Aug 02, 2006 00:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Why would an oil and gas company want to give a 10% cut to one county in Ireland? Sounds like the community support offered by Shell. The resources belong to Ireland and not to one county. Transparent and accountable good practice in business will bring benefits. That means that no damage is expected. Why give 10%s?
For what purpose? Is it to split the community, to silence the community, to burden Donegal with keeping sustainable what initial developments ensue? The people of Donegal should be looking for answers. The people of Ireland might wish to know why a loss to them...

author by E McGovernpublication date Tue Aug 29, 2006 01:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

All oil and gas exploration companies are the same - they want to make profits and Grianan Energy's rouse that they would give 10% profits to Donegal is rubbish. They would still intend to bring the gas ashore and like Shell, Statoil, etc - transport it across land belonging to individual farmers, etc just as in Rossport.
Indeed GE's plan to destroy the picturesque village of Burtonport with an gas burning power station stinks.
Leave the gas where it is - look to alternatives not the same old capitalist cods wallop.

author by cool jpublication date Tue Aug 29, 2006 04:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I see where your coming from M. Mcarron but in fairness to Mr Dohery Shell in Mayo have offered .0028% of the profits to the community via some vague promises to a small number of business's - many not even based in Mayo and thats going on SHell own dodgy estimate on the amount of gas out-there despite the fact that it is widly known in the industry that the gas reserves in thier part of the Corrib field are alot higher!!!. 10% is not bad given what the people of Mayo are being insulted with!!!

author by McGovernpublication date Sat Sep 02, 2006 00:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The oil and gas off our shores does not belong to the people of Mayo or Donegal or anywhere else... this is a global question and we have to look to developing alternatives to fossil fuels so percentages are irrelevant as there are not enough fossil fuels on a global scale. When are people going to wise up to this? Use less energy or devise an environmentally friendly energy system and I don't mean wind power!

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