Up to 20 opposition TDs attended a Dublin Shell to Sea photo-call and press conference on Tuesday at the Kildare Street gates of Leinster House.
The TDs were supporting Shell to Sea’s call for the Fine Gael/Labour coalition government and new Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte to overturn the consents granted by former minister Pat Carey to Shell E&P Ireland on the day of the recent general election.
The consents relate to the onshore section of the Corrib gas pipeline and were issued despite High Court proceedings being initiated by An Taisce and Erris residents against last January's An Bord Pleanála decision to grant permission for this section of the Corrib gas pipeline.
However, Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Natural Resources Martin Ferris TD, has strongly attacked Minister Rabbitte’s refusal to reverse the order. In his reply Minister Rabbitte said that he believed that the consents were valid and hence that “the issue of revocation does not arise”.
Dublin Shell to Sea spokesperson Caoimhe Kerins criticised Pat Carey’s decision to grant the consents. “These consents were issued in a highly dubious manner on the day of the recent general election,” she said. “Pat Carey, who was only in the Department a matter of weeks, had no mandate to issue the consents to Shell. He was a cabinet minister in a government with minority support and it is scandalous that such a major decision relating to the State’s natural resources should be taken in this way.
“It is noteworthy that a number of weeks prior to the general election former Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan postponed the injection of a further €10 billion into Allied Irish Bank, Bank of Ireland and EBS. This postponement was based on his belief that the then Fianna Fáil government had minority support and therefore had no mandate to sanction further bank bailouts.”
Caoimhe Kerins called on the new Minister for Communication, Energy and Natural Resources to overturn the consents issued by Pat Carey and to renegotiate the licensing terms offered to oil corporations. “Shell to Sea is calling on the new minister Pat Rabbitte to overturn the consents issued for the Corrib gas pipeline. This remains an unsafe project and will accrue no benefit to the people of Ireland,” said Ms Kerins.
“The state’s bizarre licensing terms ensures that Shell will pay little or no tax on the estimated €10 billion worth of gas in the Corrib field. The new Minister has an opportunity to lift the burden of cuts being heaped on working people by renegotiating the disastrous licensing terms and using the State’s vast reserves of oil and gas to invest in public services.”