Today members and supporters of Dublin Shell to Sea gathered the top of Grafton Street to distribute €540 billion ‘commemorative bank notes’ to members of the public, symbolising the cost to the exchequer of the extraordinary giveaway of Ireland’s oil and gas reserves. This was part of a national Shell to Sea day that saw leafletting in 8 other towns and cities around Ireland as well as Dublin.
Dublin Shell to Sea spokesperson, Caoimhe Kerins explained that ‘The general election campaign is being fought against the backdrop of the greatest economic crisis to face the people of this state since its foundation. Tens of billions of euro have been poured into private banks and the government is imposing savage public spending cuts. Yet voters have been told that there is no alternative to this austerity programme as the state lacks resources.’
‘However, the government’s own figures, published by the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, indicate that Ireland’s Atlantic Margin contains ten billion barrels of oil equivalent. The value of this substantial reserve is estimated to be in excess of €500 billion. Saturday’s event has been organised to highlight the giveaway of our natural resources and to provide information to voters to ask prospective TDs.’
In conclusion, Caoimhe Kerins said, ‘To date the Shell to Sea campaign has saved the state some €10 billion as Shell’s plans to raid the Corrib gas field have been frustrated for almost a decade. Shell to Sea is calling on the incoming government to reverse the notorious 1987 Ray Burke deal that reduced the state’s 50 per cent share in its offshore oil and gas to zero and abolished royalties, effectively ceding control to private corporations. Proper management of our substantial oil and gas reserves would provide a long-term revenue stream for the state and substantial resources to invest in our public services.’
The commemorative notes which mocked up to look like Euro bank notes contain information for voters in the forthcoming general election on the infamous Ray Burke deal, which saw the State handing over control of its oil and gas reserves to multinational oil corporations. On the back of the notes there is a short list of suggested questions that voters can put to general election candidates in relation to both the giveaway and the planning process for the Corrib gas field.
Leafleting also took place in the following locations around the country :
- Castlebar 11-2pm Market Square;
- Ballina 11-2pm Around Penny's, Pearce St;
- Westport 11-2pm;
- Dublin 2pm-3.30pm at the top of Grafton Street;
- Castleblayney 3-6pm in town;
- Ennis From 12pm, meet at monument at the top of O'Connell St;
- Galway From 1pm around Taaffe's on Shop St;
- Dundalk From 2pm Dundalk town square;