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Ferris slams new concessions to oil and gas corporations

2 October, 2003

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Natural Resources, Martin Ferris TD, has slammed the latest concessions made to multi-national exploration companies operating in the Celtic Sea. The new terms include reduced rental fees which, combined with existing taxation and royalties concessions to companies operating in frontier zones, make the terms on offer from Ireland among the most attractive in the world.

Deputy Ferris said: "Sinn Fein and others have long pointed to the scandalous nature of the terms available to the multi-national oil and gas corporations operating in our waters. What they amount to in effect is that these companies are handed control over vast areas of potential and actual deposits with no guarantee of any return to the state or benefit to the people of this country.

"I reject completely the contention by Minister Browne that the reduced rental fees are necessary to encourage renewed activity by the exploration companies. All of the deposits and areas of potential in our waters have already been auctioned off at bargain basement prices to the multi-nationals. The fact that most are not active has to do with their own strategic planning rather than any economic barriers to drilling and extraction.

"Indeed I would call on the Irish authorities to investigate the extent to which these companies are concealing the true extent of what they are sitting on, and to explain why they are not carrying out operations at the present time. I have also placed a question to Minister Dermot Ahern regarding the latest information on the find made earlier this year at Dooish off the Donegal coast. It is vital that if this, along with the rest of the oil and gas off our coast is to benefit the Irish people that we have full knowledge of what is there and that the state on behalf of the people has a real stake and accrues the type of revenue which other countries have used to fuel economic and social progress." ENDS

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