Ireland’s offshore oil & gas worth at least €420,000,000,000

Ireland strikes it rich: all cuts to be scrapped
Ireland’s offshore oil & gas worth at least  €420,000,000,000

Ireland’s financial worries are over. In a sensational move, the Minister for Finance has announced that the money has been found to reverse all recent health and education cuts, scrap the ‘pensions levy’ and invest in a massive job creation programme.
The Government is going to boost exchequer earnings by hundreds of billions of euro over the coming decades by redrafting Ireland’s disastrous oil and gas licensing laws. “This money has been there all along, but the Government was allowing multinational oil companies to keep it all,” Minister Brian Lenihan said.

The Minister revealed that the inspiration had come to him while passing a protest outside his office. “They had a banner about a €420 billion oil and gas giveaway. I thought, that would solve all our financial problems.

“My civil servants reminded me that Ray Burke had made a bizarre deal with the oil companies 20 years ago. If Ireland were now licensing the extraction of its oil and gas in the way other countries do – or the way we did up to 1987 – the exchequer would indeed earn hundreds of billions of euro.”

“The oil companies won’t be happy about this, but the licensing terms allow the Government to change the conditions in certain circumstances so they’ll have to accept it. People in Ireland need the money more than the multinationals’ shareholders do.”

No, unfortunately this story isn’t true. But it easily could be. Royal Dutch Shell, Statoil, Exxon Mobil and other global corporations will be taking billions of euro out of the country in the next couple of decades. In other countries they would have to give the majority of this money to the State, but not in Ireland. In 1987, then Minister Ray Burke, later jailed for corruption, abolished the State’s 50% share and all royalties.

Three wards in Crumlin children’s hospital were closed recently because of a €9.6 million deficit. The value of our offshore fields is 43,750 times the cost of keeping those wards open. It is 300 times the money that will be raised from the public sector ‘pensions levy’.

The current Government could insist on a new deal. Instead it has spent as much on policing opposition to Shell’s rip-off of the Corrib Gas as it has tackling gangland shootings in Dublin. Dozens of campaigners have been assaulted and over 100 arrested.
Most Irish media are not reporting The Great Oil and Gas Giveaway, partly because Tony O’Reilly, who owns much of the media, also owns an oil exploration company. As we have no other way to tell you the real story, Shell to Sea has printed more than 100,000 copies of this leaflet and is distributing it all over Ireland. Please read it and pass it on to neighbours, friends and co-workers, because it is only when we all stand together that we can stop this robbery of our resources.

This is the final version of a text I wrote for the Dublin Shell to Sea 'All the Facts' leaflet.  We are producing 120,000 of these so a whole lot of editing has been done be a team of people since my original draft.  If you want copies to distribute (this was produced Autumn 2009) details are on the All the Facts page.


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