“The way in which our natural gas resource was given away with no royalties negotiated for the people of Mayo is a sad reflection on our local body politic. It begs the question-where is the backbone of Mayo politics?” according to Labour representative Harry Barrett.
“In other countries elected representatives negotiate for the people. It happened on the Shetland Island, where councillors negotiated a royalties deal with the British Petroleum and in more recent times we read of the deal struck by Sarah Palin, Republican candidate for US vice president, with oil companies in her state. One of her first acts as newly elected governor of Alaska was to renegotiate a taxation deal with the Alaskan oil companies. She sidelined them by contracting a Canadian company to build a new gas pipeline. Royalties from the Alaskan oilfields makes up more than 80 per cent of Alaska's budget and finances a fund that pays out more than $2,000 each year to every man, woman and child in the state. Palin has added to this year's cheque, which reaches most Alaskan homes this month, with an extra $1,200.
“Our elected representatives in Mayo have accepted the ‘deal’ offered by the Government,” Mr Barrett continued. “This deal included accepting community hardship in Rossport for more than seven years; accepting the imprisonment of locals for exercising their rights to private property and their rights to fish and accepting the fact we will receive nothing in terms of royalties from the multi billion-euro profits that Shell E and P will make on Mayo gas. The ‘big’ plus is the provision of between 25 to 40 full time jobs in two years time when the terminal is built; jobs that will go to technicians from outside.
“Meanwhile, we have to endure the bleating of the very same politicians who bemoan the fact that Mayo receives poor road funding, poor sewerage treatment funding and has the dirtiest water quality in the country due to under funded group water schemes. When will the penny drop, that renegotiating this ‘deal’ could provide the funding for these essential projects. We have thousands of homes in this county that still cannot access clean water from the tap. We now need a Sarah Palin, a politician with backbone, to demand a share of what is rightfully ours.”