Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Nationalise our natural resources

In recent weeks, a meeting took place between the CEO of Bord Gais John Mullins and a delegation from Sligo concerning the possibility of the gas transmission grid being extended to Sligo and the north-west. Amongst the delegation were two Sligo Fianna Fáil politicians Senator Marc McSharry and Deputy Eamonn Scanlon.

This meeting comes in the wake of a planned meeting on this issue last month by a delegation from the Save our Shops (SOS) campaign in Sligo with Fianna Fáil Minister Conor Lenihan which had to be postponed. This meeting is expected to be rescheduled and take place in the near future. The SOS campaign, which comprises Sligo Fair Dealers, Sligo Chamber, Sligo Council of Trade Unions, individual business owners and some local politicians, have also been calling for Sligo to be connected to the gas network

According to media reports of the meeting, Mullins told the delegation that for the network to be extended to Sligo, the Dublin government would need to provide a once off subvention of €39 million. To date such a subvention has been ruled out as too costly.

However, as éirígí have repeatedly pointed out, there is a simple solution. Its called nationalisation. Nationalise ALL our natural resources, extract these resources such as oil and gas safely and in an environmentally friendly manner and use the wealth generated to benefit all the people on this island, not just the shareholders of multi-national oil and gas companies.

According to the governments own estimates, there are more than 500 billion euro worth of natural resources lying under the seabed off our shores. If these valuable resources, which rightfully belong to the Irish people and should never have been handed over to create profits for multi-national giants such as Shell, were nationalised the cost of extending the network to Sligo and other areas around the country would not be an issue and could not be used as an excuse as is currently the case.

If these politicians and other groupings are serious about bringing natural gas to the north-west, then they need to publicly support the campaign to take back our natural resources. éirígí have already requested that the Save our Shops group, Fair Dealers Group, Sligo Chamber, Senator Marc McSharry and others who have and are scheduled to meet Leinster House ministers on this issue, to publicly call for the nationalisation of our oil and gas.

So once again éirígí are repeating our call to all those groups to make this demand for nationalisation publicly and to make it their bottom line in any discussions on this issue. If they continue to refuse to take such a public stance, then they need to explain why that is. There is no justification for refusing to support such a simple and just demand that would benefit all the people of this island and not just the shareholders of oil and gas companies.

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