Sunday, 23 May 2010

Shell to Sea, Ray Burke, and the irresistible gombeenism of Ireland

There is a strong element of NIMBYism in Ireland. If you want to widen your gateposts in Dublin, there’s always a chance that someone in Kerry could object - redefining the very concept. Or if you want to link towns and cities with a motorway (statistically the safest roads) or replace death-trap bridges (see Slane) there will be no shortage of consciensious objectors trying to put the mockers on it.

So I have to admit when I heard, way back when, that protesters were out blocking the roads in Mayo - reciting the Rosary as Gaeilge, no less - in objection to Shell’s proposed gas pipeline going over their land, I was a bit sceptical to put it very mildly.

But just as the State took such a major role in suppressing dissent when Ronald Ronald Reagan visited these shores many years ago - with a special fondness in his heart for the imbeciles of Ballyporeen – you have to wonder if they have some kind of point. Oh, and at that time the Irish prime minister was espoused liberal, Garret Fitzgerald. Welcome Ronnie the warmonger.

Remember too, that the Irish government has never been behind the door when prostitiuing us to the multinationals. OK, we’ve more jobs nowadays than we did in the ‘80s, but there is such a thing as protection.

Then there’s the payoff. While having Google and Microsoft here gives us jobs, you have to wonder about us being the prime facilitators of corporate tax-dodging in the EU. Ask anyone employed in one of these concerns and the answer will be predictable. And understandable. But?

So, no surprise tben, that the Irish government sold us so short when they wrote the Corrib exploration rights off to Shell. Professor John M Simmie, from the chemistry facuilty of NUI Galway, maintained in the Irish Times of August 23rd, 2005, that “ at that time, the country had neither the trained personnel nor the funds to wildcat for oil and gas. It would have been a giant gamble at a time when our economy could not have sustained such a shock.”

OK, 50/1 are odds that the most optimistic gambler would shirk at, but even if your horse wins because the rest of the field falls down, you wouldn’t have backed it unless you thought there was some chance of winning. But it seems that corrupt Fianna Fail politician, Ray Burke, lobbied to abolish existing legislation of the time - which gave the State a 50% stake in any discoveries - to facilitate Shell’s deployment here. You can look further into this at the Shell to Sea website here.

For my part, I know we need energy resources, I know we need investment, I know we need infrastructure. But I also know that if someone like Ray Burke was involved in Shell’s investment here, you have to wonder.

In times like this we need to make the most of the few assets we have to get some semblance of profit for our pains - whilst keeping within international safety standards .

Is it too much to ask?

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Ella said...

"Remember too, that the Irish government has never been behind the door when prostitiuing us to the multinationals."

That's the thing GM, there are many forms of prostitution a lot "worse" than whoring, and above is a prime example thereof

anna said...

Little coffee time quiz:

1)Which of these countries has great free public services, a very fair and equal society (where the working class have every chance to live a decent life and advance themselves) and for several months of the year god awful weather ( well you can’t have it all):
A- Nigeria
C- Ireland

2) The following is a common saying in which country;
“ In ______ we pay taxes with joy.” ^^
A- Nigeria
B- Norway
C- Ireland

3) Fintan O’Toole said the Corrib gas field Will actually create tax revenue* to fund new free hospitals and schools in which country ?
A- Nigeria
B- Norway
C- Ireland

4) BONUS Q !:A certain organisation said this of the Irish Government: “ NO other government on earth has been so helpful or generous to us.” Who was the grateful speaker?
Was it:
A-UN Committee for Refugees
B- Red Cross, Mediciens Sans frontiers, Gray’s Anatomy, Dr Dray Ramorro, Dr Seymour Butts, Other medical good guys etc…or….
C- Shell

Answers:1-3 B( Norway) . NO not C, who get Nul points.
OK, A is not great on social equality, fair collection of tax revenue, or even ensuring that oil protestors don’t end up hung..But A is not in the EU.
Bonus Q Ans- Shell of course! Our government doesn’t give away our hard earned money to do good scruffs!’ What would the world come to?

NB^^- I didn’t make that up- Norwegians Really are that big into sharing all their resources and taxes.
* …as Statoil( Norwegian state owned) are also involved as a minor partner . However I don’t think Statoil are getting quite the sweet deal Shell are ( Basically the Irish Government has practically waived the right to any royalties it could- and should- make on any gas pumped ashore- so it is practically telling Shell to help itself to our natural resources and then walk away with as near to 100% profit as possible.).
Whatever profits Statoil makes from their ventures in Irish waters- the responsible Norwegian Government will hit them with a hefty tax bill when they repatriate their profits. The discovery of oil in the 60’s ( and consequent tax windfall ) shot Norway up the development index from one of the poorest countries in Europe- to one with one of the best standards of living on earth.

anna said...

Ireland is Awesome!!! It managed ( though Nama & bank bailout) to return us to serfdom. Serfs like wolves were once common in EU- then extinct, you know though good government and all that guff. Returning to serfdom is a feature not known in any other white, Christian ( allegedly) English speaking country in the OECD developed nations. WWYGI? Ans- OII. Awesome!!
I was once with a pen pal organisation,* gave you addresses of people you could write to in China, Chile, Iraq, DRC, Nigeria, Burmah…frustratingly they didn’t write back and you couldn’t visit them.
Now Ireland now also has “Prisoners of conscience’ - see STS website.: 2 fishermen who were beaten by Shell supporters - all over a dangerous pipeline going over their Own land.
I’d never have guessed they were trouble, the smiling one in the wool cap looks quite nice, anyway the prison address is given, so I’ll write. AND you can visit ( Joe Higgins already did).
There are Awesome pics on the website too, see the 1 with this caption:
“Four Dublin Shell to Sea campaigners have chained themselves to the stairwells inside Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources as an action in solidarity with Pat O’Donnell. A number STS activists are currently occupying the offices of the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources at 29-31 Adelaide Road, D 2.”
Wow!!! that only happened last Fri- I was going past, saw people with placards and wondered what was going on - turns out ( according to STS) they were marking the ONE HUNDREDTH day of captivity of that jolly man in the wool cap,
Pat O’ Donnell, ( currently residing at)
Castlerea Prison,
Harristown, Castlerea,
They were also marking the 33 rd day of captivity of
Niall Harnett ( same address)
AND it seems last Friday they also protested outside Shell offices on Leeson st and in Mayo- but only Mayo radio covered it.
And check out the awesome stat below( ON STS leaflet,’ The ‘Someday Times’)
‘Vast quantities of gas and oil have been discovered
in Irish Atlantic waters over the
past 15 years. The Government’s figures put the
value of these reserves at €420 billion
(€420,000,000,000), but this is a low
estimate. The real figure is likely to be much
higher, especially as the global price of oil and gas
rises .So what will the Government be spending these
new-found riches on? The answer is: Nothing. This
wealth will be leaving Ireland, thanks to a deal
made between the corrupt Haughey government and Shell ’’

420,000,000,000!!! Awesome!!!- That money might easily pay for a banking tribunal, nd get a few jailed, tho they probably wouldn’t be as jolly looking as my new Mayo penpals. IN what EU country do you get serfs + Prisoners of Conscience?? ( OII) AWESOME!


Anonymous said...

GM 12 and a half percent thats what the wonderful economy of Ireland is now based on. Let there be no doubt. If the "special tax" rate for multis was abolished by the EU then the full extent of world economic realities would be well and truely felt. You see if the government put half as much energy in to indigenous domestic business there would obviously be far less of a problem here. Now I'm not talking about pandering to IBEC but what about trying a little support for small business? What about trying to create an environment which favours innovation?

I'm not talking about this smart economy pap which is the new phrase of choice at the moment but actively encouraging individuals to make things??

Thats all fine but of course it wont happen. At least to any large extent. To even instigate such an enviroment would be going against type for the Irish. Its not possible for Irish people (and that includes the government) to support there own.

Emm, I wonder how long will Ireland hold this special tax rate?

As for Shell and Ray Burke, GM have to say I did'nt hear about this before but it would not surprise me in the least.


ANNA said...

Try this link:gives you all the shocking fact- if it doesn’t work , it is on the STS website

Source URL:

AlSO; Joe Higgins MEP visits 'Shell To Sea' Activist, Pat O'Donnell, In Castlera Prison ( Indy media website 22 feb 2010)
Joe Condemns Ongoing Criminalisation Of Decent People To Complete State Sell Out Of Natural Resources To Shell
"Pat stated that he was well treated and well respected by prison staff. However it ais an outrage that he is in prison at all. He is a victim of the criminalisation of decent people involved in peaceful protest in Erris which highlights the handover of an entire natural resource to a multinational corporation with not a cent in royalties for the Irish people.

"Many arms of the State from the political establishment through the Garda to the judiciary have combined to have the Shell project foisted on a community which has grave fears for its safety arising from a high pressure gas pipeline. In so doing they compound the original outrageous decision by Fianna Fail to hand the Corrib gas field to this company having no independent analysis of its potential yield. What this means is that this gas might as well be bought in from Siberia as far as the Irish taxpayer is concerned. it means that this natural resource will simply enrich a major private corporation instead of being used to boost public services and finance public projects.

"It was a scurrilous slander for a Circuit Court Judge to describe Pat O'Donnell in court as a 'thug' and 'bully'. In fact he is a decent fisherman who has refused substantial sums of money that Shell has paid out to smooth its path and chose instead to stand against a project that could have deeply damaging consequences for the local environment and the safety of the local community. It was particularly vindictive to give Pat O'Donnell consecutive sentences lengthening his time in prison to seven months.
"The Irish political establishment stands condemned by the whole Corrib gas saga. The anti-social criminals known as speculators and big bankers whose lust for super profits crashed the Irish economy with disastrous consequences for ordinary people and for society in general. Not one of them has been before a criminal court. But a local fisherman has the whole force of the State mobilised against him to achieve a manufactured conviction and a jail sentence because he stands for community benefit over private greed.
"Pat O'Donnell should be released forthwith. The contract with Shell should be torn up. The State should establish an Oil and Gas Exploration and Recovery Company which like the creation of State companies in the past such as the ESB and Bord na Mona could develop resources for the benefit of society. "

anna said...

I met STS on the streets in Dublin a few times over the last 2 yrs: Their leaflets were alarming ( of course I did remember jailing of Rossport 5 and retired teacher Maura Harrington). ‘
But What SHOCKED me was when STS said little was in the National Press: In fact an educated reader on this site said he never heard of it how much has trickled thru to our nation overall?:
Type ‘Shell to sea Corrib- 30,000 results: Who’s writing? Many blog spots esp Indy media, /some from BBC, /V Little from RTE- there’s more on the BBC/The Examiner(Cork)/Bebo Youtube/ Scant mention from Irish Independent News-always with Shell as heroes and protestors as villains( would you even buy a Used Car from the Independent classifieds?- I certainly wouldn’t and their small ads outshine the editorial…)/ Only a few mentions from Irish Times/ Joe Higgins/ Labour party/ other small socialist groups/ The Earth Journal( based in TUCSON)/ Evening Echo ( Cork) /West of Ireland news papers/ Monsters & critics site (USA)/…A sprinkling of propaganda mentions from various Shell sites ..:
The STS stuff is Massive.- AND hotting up:
* See these 2 latest arrests and sit ins+ An Bord Pleanala have just rejected unsafe pipeline – (over an unstable bog!) plans. Yet almost Nothing in main press
* NO other country has allowed Shell to do processing on land- it’s all been done at sea elsewhere- that's why the site is called ' Shell To Sea.'
* 1 yr ago Pat the prisoner had his boat Torched by Men in balaclavas. In Mayo. Brings back memories of French secret service and ‘Rainbow warrior’.
*And a STS EU Mayo election candidate ( who had complained about Garda brutality) found a lot of his votes went missing in the count centre( Village Apr 10)
*STS site says certain media have been given holidays, Garda have been given grants for sports, and as for Independent News & Media ..owner has his own oil exploration interests…
* …not forgetting the outrageous sell out of our resources, 420,000,000,000 EUROS worth!
* Did Mayo fishermen/ farmers and a retired teacher decide they’d embrace student politics and get imprisoned? For Fun?
* Bertie was also involved along with Ray Burke ( hear alarm bells?)
*You can donate, sign a petition, send cards & emails of support thru the site: they actually do have a lot of fundraising drives- even a walk from Methyr Wales is coming off. One ex pat has organised a support group in France.
* If people don’t protest …this is the Most monstrous con trick ever done by an Irish Government on the people…(pause)..yes there’s quite a list…bigger than NAMA, 1980s AIB bailout, Irish sweepstakes ending in private hands and crashing etc,….No This is the worst…Worst con trick pulled by an OECD nation on its people.
There won’t be a penny left…rich ruling class already live in tax exile, us serfs will emigrate ..Ireland will be left to the seagulls:

The Gombeen Man said...

@ Ella, Dakota, Anna. Only in Ireland.