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Proposal to increase tax on oil and gas companies a modest step forward - Ferris

1 August, 2007

Sinn Féin Energy and Natural Resources Spokesperson Martin Ferris TD has described Government proposals to increase taxes on oil and gas discoveries off the Irish coast as a modest step forward.

Speaking today Deputy Ferris said, "The proposal by Minister Eamon Ryan today, to increase taxes on firms that discover oil and gas off the Irish coast can only be described as a modest step forward. It is high time for a comprehensive review of the outdated taxation system that allows oil and gas companies operating off the coast of this country to make massive amounts of money without paying a penny to the Irish exchequer.

"These taxation policies were designed to encourage companies to explore for gas off the Irish coast. The Government of the time argued that it was not known how much gas was to be found or whether it would be profitable to explore for gas and therefore favourable taxation policies were required.

"We are in a completely different situation today. We now know that there are gas reserves off the Irish coast and it is high time that companies exploring out there should pay their fair share to the exchequer.

"The modest proposal from the Minister is, in some small manner, an acceptance of what Sinn Féin has being arguing for some time - that the Irish people must benefit from Irish natural resources.

"It is also time for Ireland to establish a state gas exploration company to ensure that Ireland and the Irish people are the ones who gain most from our natural resources and I would call on the Minister to begin preparations for that now." ENDS

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