Packed meeting in Dalkey demands public enquiry into Providence Resources Plc’s foreshore application to drill in Dublin Bay; further meetings planned and major campaign underway
In a statement today, after a packed meeting in Dalkey last night, Richard Boyd Barrett, People Before TD, urged the public to make submissions to the Minister for the Environment, Phil Hogan, calling for a public enquiry on the issue of granting a foreshore licence to Providence Resources Plc. The meeting of 300 people and a further 100 turned away, voted overwhelmingly in favour of the call for a public enquiry into the issue. Deputy Boyd Barrett, addressing the meeting, commented that with the current licencing and tax arrangements the Irish people will not benefit whatsoever from any oil or gas find. He also called on Labour and Fine Gael, including Eamon Gilmore, who also attended the meeting, to clearly state their position on the issue. This licence would allow Providence to carry out a seismic survey and to drill an oil well only 6km from Dalkey Island. The local tidal currents mean that any oil spill would wash straight into Dublin Bay and contaminate the water and beaches from Bray to Howth
At the meeting the People Before Profit outlined his concerns with regard to the licence (details below). Some of those involved in organising last night’s meeting have now agreed to organise further meetings to spread awareness and generate further debate in other parts of Dublin Bay. Invitations to concerned groups and individuals will be sent out as widely as possible. The next meeting is co-organised by Save Our Seafront and Protect Our Coast and will be held in the Kingsotn Hotel on Tues 31 Jan at 7.30pm. Richard Boyd Barrett said: “I am extremely concerned about the plan to drill for oil in Dublin Bay. The only possible case for drilling this close to shore might be if there were sizable benefits for the country. The current licencing and tax arrangements in Ireland for oil and gas finds are such that the only beneficiaries will be Providence Resources and their partners. Neither does any find guarantee a supply of oil for the country. In this context drilling so close to the most populated part of the country and adjacent to an area of special conservation is an extremely high risk strategy. Providence and its partners get all the gain and we take all the risk. The application for this licence is also being rushed through with alarming speed. Considering there has never been a drilling this close to shore in the country there should, at a minimum, be more time given to consider the application.
The Minister for the Environment has the power to call a public enquiry before he grants a foreshore licence. Norway, one of the biggest oil rich countries in Europe, has never allowed exploration within the foreshore (22km around the coast). Any plan to drill in Norwegian seas is always accompanied by a public enquiry. This kind of enquiry would allow the public to have their say and for all the implications of such a decision to be examined.
I am urging people to make submissions to Minister Phil Hogan by Thurs 2 Feb expressing their concern and calling for a public enquiry into the issue.
People Before Profit concerns regarding drilling for oil in Dublin Bay:
1. Drilling for oil or gas in Ireland under the current licencing agreements is of NO benefit whatsoever to the people of Ireland. In Norway the state receives 70% of the value of all finds. In Britain, even under the Tories, the state receives 40%. Under the current licencing arrangements in Ireland the exploration company can write off 100% of all costs against tax and after that will only pay 25% tax and NO royalties. This is a giveaway to vastly profitable multi-nationals.
2. If Providence Plc were successful in finding oil or gas the result would surely be oil rigs in Killiney and Dublin Bays, pipelines and essentially the full industrialisation of one of the most beautiful stretches of our coastline.
3. Providence Plc is owned by billionaire Tony O Reilly. If oil is found Providence and its partners would be under NO obligation to guarantee supply to Ireland. The oil or gas would be sold on the open market for enormous profits and the public would have no benefit.
4. The planned drilling is too close to shore. Nowhere in Ireland has any company been allowed to drill this close to the shore. If there was an oil spill adjacent to the most populated place in Ireland the whole bay could be contaminated for decades.
5. The area around Dalkey Island is designated a “Special Conservation Area” with a number of rare species of birds, mammals and fish. An oil spill would cause untold damage.
6. The seismic survey alone will emit sound pulses under the sea up to 250 decibels. These sound pulses under the sea can seriously disorient marine wildlife. A recent seismic survey carried out by Exxon Mobil near Madagascar, was implicated in 100 whales being trapped and stranded.
7. The world’s dependency on oil is the single biggest contributing factor to climate change. We should now be investing in renewable energies NOT further contributing to this dependency. If Ireland has oil and gas deposits these should only be extracted from the ground if they are going to contribute to investment in renewable energies. The full application can be viewed at Dun Laoghaire and Dalkey Garda Stations or on-line at www.providenceresources.com/dalkeyisland.aspx.
All submissions need to be addressed to Minister Phil Hogan, Department of Environment, Custom House, Dublin 1, to arrive no later than 2 Feb.
Read our leaflet on the issue here: