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Irish natural resources must benefit the people – Ó Broin

19 February, 2011


Speaking at the the launch of Sinn Fein's election proposals on natural resources, Dublin Mid West candidate Eoin Ó Broin said that strong measures are required to ensure that Irish natural resources are used for the benefit of the people. Among the proposals announced today is a commitment to renegotiate existing oil and gas contracts including that held by Shell for the Corrib Gas field, to give the State a 51% shareholding while increasing the levies to 48% and royalties to 7.5%.

Ó Broin also pledged Sinn Féin's opposition to any attempt to sell off more public assets as part of the EU/IMF bailout for the banks.

Ó Broin said:

"Contrary to popular belief Ireland is rich in natural resources. Decades of government mismanagement has resulted in a massive hand over of these resources such as our natural gas and fisheries. In addition a failure to invest in developing sustainable energies and forestry has denied the state valuable sources of employment and much needed revenue.

“Sinn Féin’s proposals would change this.

“We would reform the current exploration licensing and taxation regime to increase the public benefit from what are public resources. We would also renegotiate oil and gas contracts to ensure that the State has a 51% stake in all of these resources including the Shell gas field in Corrib and increase the levies to 48% and royalties to 7.5%. We would also establish a State oil, gas and mineral exploration company which would actively participate and invest in further exploration.

“Sinn Féin would also plan for a strategic public investment in developing the renewable energy sector through the establishment of a publically owned national green technology firm. Our key target in this area would be for Ireland to become a net exporter of electricity from renewable sources.

“We would also increase investment in the development of our forestry and seek to renegotiate the Common Fisheries Policy. We need to radically improve the quota allocation for Irish fishermen and we need to ensure that Coillte forestry and other productive state assets are not sold off to service the bank debt but developed to realise their full jobs potential.

“Sinn Féin is also firmly opposed to the sale of valuable State assets such as the ESB. Advocates of privatisation argue that a fire sale of the family silver would boost the State's revenues. That is a mistake. You need only look at the example of Eircom and the destruction of the sugar industry to see the effects of such short-sighted policies. 

“Ireland’s natural resources are a public resource. They need to be developed in way that maximises the benefit to the public. They also need to be developed in a manner that is economically and environmentally sustainable. Sinn Féin’s proposals, as set out today, would achieve both of these aims while generating significant extra revenue to assist in reducing the deficit and investing jobs and public services.” ENDS

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