Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Sinn Féin demands full disclosure in relation to all aspects of Corrib gas deal

4 October, 2005


Speaking during statements on the Corrib gas field and the Rossport Five in the Dáil this evening Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice, Equality and Human Rights, Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD, welcomed the release of the five men from jail last Friday. He said it was "a victory for themselves and their families" and he commended the "tremendous courage and resolution they displayed over the 13 weeks of their imprisonment."

But Deputy Ó Snodaigh cautioned, "As this development stands, neither the people of Mayo nor the people of this state stand to gain in any real way from the Corrib field if it is brought on shore. The people of Erris are going to have a dangerous pipeline at their back door, carrying gas that they will not even have access to."

He went on to say, "We have called in the past for a full inquiry into why and how the multi-nationals were handed over control of our natural resources at terms unequalled anywhere on the face of the earth.

"We are reiterating that demand, and also for a review of Corrib to include full disclosure of all aspects of the deal. For example, what were the terms under which former Minister Frank Fahey signed over Bellanboy Wood for the terminal site. Why were parts of Bord Pleanala's own report by Kevin Moore detailing the lack of economic benefits ignored. Why was misleading information given regarding the potential disaster had the pipeline been in place at the time of the Dooncartin landslide. What did An Taoiseach discuss with the President of Shell when he met him.

"In order for these and many other questions to be answered, any inquiry or judicial review needs to be carried out on the basis of full disclosure. All minutes from the Department relating to the project must be made available. So too must the minutes of An Taoiseach's meeting with the Shell President. Also, all documents relating to the transfer of Bellanboy must be placed in the public realm after years of hiding behind the alleged lack of Ministerial responsibly for Coillte." ENDS

Full text of statement by Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD on the Corrib gas field development and the Rossport Five

I would like to begin by welcoming the release of the five men from Rossport last Friday. It was a victory for themselves and their families and the tremendous courage and resolution they displayed over the 13 weeks of their imprisonment.

It was also a victory for the thousands of people in Mayo and throughout the whole island who came out in support of the men, who took part in protests, who sent them cards, and who in various other ways made clear their feelings on the issue.

It was a campaign that brought together people of many different political views and none. It also clearly highlighted a fundamental division between political parties, and indeed within political parties as the leaders of the three largest parties in here will attest. It was a division between those who were unequivocally on the side of those pointing to the environmental and economic disadvantages of the proposed Corrib pipeline, and those prepared to put the interests of Royal Dutch Shell first.

And let us be clear about that. As this development stands, neither the people of Mayo nor the people of this state stand to gain in any real way from the Corrib field if it is brought on shore. The people of Erris are going to have a dangerous pipeline at their back door, carrying gas that they will not even have access to.

That gas will be piped in by a company whose annual turnover is bigger than this state‚s GDP but who have to all intents and purposes been given the gas field for nothing. Surely this stands as an outstanding act of generosity. There you go lads. Write off all your tax and charge us the full price for selling it to Bord Gáis who this week are imposing a massive price increase on their customers, many of whom are already faced with fuel bills they cannot afford.

And of course we know who they have to thank for their gift. People like Ray Burke who was no doubt motivated by the highest sentiments when he made the deal. We have called in the past for a full inquiry into why and how the multi-nationals were handed over control of our natural resources at terms unequalled anywhere on the face of the earth.

We are reiterating that demand, and also for a review of Corrib to include full disclosure of all aspects of the deal. For example, what were the terms under which former Minister Frank Fahey signed over Bellanboy Wood for the terminal site. Why were parts of Bord Pleanala's own report by Kevin Moore detailing the lack of economic benefits ignored. Why was misleading information given regarding the potential disaster had the pipeline been in place at the time of the Dooncartin landslide. What did An Taoiseach discuss with the President of Shell when he met him.

In order for these and many other questions to be answered, any inquiry or judicial review needs to be carried out on the basis of full disclosure. All minutes from the Department relating to the project must be made available. So too must the minutes of An Taoiseach's meeting with the Shell President. Also, all documents relating to the transfer of Bellanboy must be placed in the public realm after years of hiding behind the alleged lack of Ministerial responsibly for Coillte.

The Rossport men and their families and supporters have won a tremendous victory. As the brother of murdered Ogoni activist Ken Saro Wiwa said on Saturday, such victories are rare. However, it is only a temporary victory and the real issues have yet to be resolved. Unless they are; unless the pipeline is moved offshore and unless this state changes the licensing and revenue conditions governing the project then the campaign against the development as currently proposed will continue.

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