Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Doherty calls on government to intervene in Rossport dispute and get Shell to move offshore

1 November, 2006

Sinn Féin Vice President Pat Doherty MP is in Mayo today for a series of events including a visit to Ballenaboy and he will address a public meeting tonight on the ongoing developments in the peace process and on party proposals for rural regeneration.

Speaking on his arrival in Ballina this afternoon Mr. Doherty said:

"This afternoon I will be travelling to Ballenaboy where I will meet with local people to offer Sinn Féin's support for their ongoing campaign. I will also be taking the opportunity to call on the government to stop behaving like Pontius Pilate and intervene to resolve this problem. Using members of the Gardaí in the way they have is totally unwarranted. The government should listen to the concerns of the local community, meet with Shell and tell them that in the interests of safety the gas should be processed off-shore.

"There is also the other key issue - the decision to hand over the control over oil and gas deposits to multi-national corporations. Not only was this done at a potentially huge cost in terms of lost revenue, royalties and down stream economic growth, but was carried out in a manner that would suggest that former Government Ministers were acting in the interests of certain private interests and for questionable motives.

"Sinn Féin is determined to ensure that the monumental blunders of the past are reversed. In Government, Sinn Féin is committed to reclaiming the Irish people's right to a share of, and control over, the exploitation of our oil and gas reserves.

"Tonight I will be speaking in the Downhill Hotel in Ballina at 8pm. I will be updating people on ongoing developments in the peace process since the St. Andrews discussions in Scotland. I will also be setting out Sinn Féin proposals in relation to rural regeneration which will form a core part of our policy platform for the upcoming election and any programme for government which we would be putting forward.

"The economic and social well-being of rural communities is essential if we are to lay the foundations for a more balanced and just society. It is important to ensure the survival and prosperity of existing communities and real progress can be made through shifting economic and demographic growth away from the major cities and towns. This would benefit both urban and rural dwellers and go a long way to alleviating many of the problems which currently afflict Irish life.

"Part of this lies in ensuring that there is real decentralisation of jobs, housing and political power. And also that every citizen, in no matter what part of the country they live, is entitled to the equal provision of public services in education, transport, health, policing and communications.

"The current Government‚s record on agriculture and rural development has been poor. On the economic aspects of agriculture it has been content to go along with dictates, good and bad, from Brussels. A prime example of this was its abject failure to defend the Irish sugar industry which was sacrificed in the interests of an EU deal with the WTO and the interests of Greencore shareholders intent on asset-stripping the former Sugar Company.

"While Rural Affairs Minister Eamon O Cuiv has been well-intentioned, the efforts of his Department have been outweighed by the overall effects of Government policies in key areas which have further worsened the situation of many rural communities.

"This Government has also failed to oppose the moves towards the introduction of GM crops which would be disastrous for the Irish food sector. It has failed to defend the Irish beef sector from the threat posed by meat imports from third countries, and it has failed to frame a strategy that would boost Irish food processing through a focus on higher value production.

"Sinn Féin will be making rural regeneration and reclaiming control over gas and oil deposits right around our shoreline one of our key priorities in any future government." ENDS

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