In a statement this morning, People Before Profit TD, Richard Boyd Barrett, condemned the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government for granting a foreshore licence to Providence Resources to drill for oil in Dublin Bay.
People Before Profit has been against the granting of this licence since the application first became public knowledge last January and has been working with Save Our Seafront and local activists in Dublin Bay area to campaign against this decision.
Local councillors Cllr Melisa Halpin and Cllr Hugh Lewis have raised the issue in the council on a number of occasions but the Labour/Fine Gael led council have constantly conspired to ensure that the issue of the granting of a foreshore licence has not been debated properly.
The campaign’s concerns are:
1.The planned drilling at 6km from the coast is too close to shore – in Norway, for example, there is no drilling allowed within the foreshore (25km).
2.If there was a find of oil or gas Providence would be under NO obligation to sell it to the Irish State
3.The current licencing and tax arrangements are such that it would be years before any tax at all would be paid by Providence as they can write off all their losses for the previous 25 years against any tax owed.
4.There is no guarantee of any jobs with this project – Providence have said themselves that they will be helicoptering in employees from Dublin airport.
5.If oil or gas is found we could well see the full industrialisation of the bay and one of the most beautiful stretches of our coastline not to mention the safety concerns
6.The impact of an oil find on the local environment is unclear and considering the different Special Conservation areas in the area the risk is too high.
Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett said: “It is an absolute disgrace that this licence has been granted. The Department tells us not to worry because if oil or gas is found then Providence will have to apply for another licence and a full Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) will be carried out at that stage. While this is true, there has never been a case in Ireland that a company has found oil with an exploratory licence and then not been granted an extraction licence.
It is before the granting of the Foreshore licence that an EIA should have been done. In Norway, one of the world’s biggest oil producers, every application for an exploratory licence is accompanied by a public inquiry, why do we not follow this “best practice”?
In the coming weeks we will be holding meetings around the bay area to discuss how we can campaign against this project.”
Cllr Melisa Halpin added: “The risks involved in this project just too high and there are no benefits. Ireland’s natural resources are being plundered by private companies. All along the western and southern seaboard companies like Providence, Shell and Statoil have found oil and gas and are sitting on these vast resources waiting for the price to be right to sell.
A find of oil or gas in Dublin Bay will be treated in exactly the same way with Providence making all the money and the people of Dublin Bay taking all the risk.
It is not too late to stop this madness, but to do so we need huge amounts of People Power that can change the political priorities of a government that is putting the interests of Big Oil ahead of the people and the environment.”
Further information: Richard Boyd Barrett 086 7814520 Melisa Halpin 086 3805793