Twenty-Six County minister Seán Power’s recent pronouncements that Ireland needs to increase its indigenous energy resources must have raised a few eyebrows among those who are familiar with the Dublin’s government’s shambolic energy ‘policy’.
Announcing the opening of the 2009 Rockall Licensing Round on Monday (November 24), Power, a minister of state in the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, said that: “finding and producing our indigenous oil and gas is critical to strengthening Ireland's security of energy supply and reducing our reliance on imported fuels”.
Under the Licensing Round, private oil and gas exploration companies will be invited to apply for new Frontier Exploration Licenses in the Rockall Basin.
The acreage on offer in the Rockall Basin, to the west of Ireland, covers unlicensed blocks in an area of approximately 117,200 square kilometres.
éirígí chairperson Brian Leeson said that Power’s concern for Ireland’s energy supplies flies in the face of his government’s behaviour on the issue to date.
“It is a bit rich for a Fianna Fáil TD to be talking about ‘strengthening Ireland’s security of energy supply’ when, in fact, Ireland has no security of energy supply because of the actions of Mr Power’s colleagues.
“Fianna Fáil have been the chief protagonists in allowing our gas and oil resources to become the private property of a few, who will sell them to the highest bidder. Over the last 20 years, the Twenty-Six County government has run the state-owned Irish National Petroleum Corporation into the ground and effectively given away massive amounts of our natural resources to multinationals.
“The Petroleum Corporation, if properly funded and efficiently run, had the potential to provide ‘security of energy supply’ for the people of Ireland. Instead, politicians like Dick Spring and Fianna Fáil minister Ray Burke decided that the people’s energy needs came second to the interests of the big energy companies.
“The outworking of this disgraceful policy has been seen all too clearly in north-west Mayo over the last number of years.”
Leeson continued: “If Seán Power is serious about ‘funding and producing our indigenous oil and gas’ then he knows what needs to happen.
“A serious and well-funded state-owned energy exploration body needs to be established that will have the aim of providing Ireland with ‘security of energy supply’.
“Furthermore, any deals the Dublin government has made with private energy companies, particularly the Erris deal, should be renegotiated with a view to ensuring all Ireland’s natural resources are brought under public control.
“Expostulating about the need to secure our resources while courting those who aim to take them from us is the height of hypocrisy.”
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