[Sinn Fein]

23 July 2000

Martin Ferris says - Government allowing oil barons to ``rip-off'' Corrib Gas find on Mayo coast

Sinn Fein has accused the Irish Government of allowing a ``massive rip-off'' by the private sector of the multi-million-pound Corrib gas find off the coast of Mayo.

Kerry County Councillor and Ard Chomhairle member Martin Ferris said:

''The Enterprise Oil company is being allowed by this government to monopolise one of the biggest gas finds ever discovered off the coast of Europe. They are being allowed to exploit this natural resource and for the privilege they enjoy the lowest rate of government taxation in the world on the oil and gas industry.

''The former director of Statoil Exploration Ireland has claimed that there is a `cosy relationship' between the Government and the oil companies. Major questions are raised by the fact that it was the discredited former TD Ray Burke as a Fianna Fáil minister who introduced the cosy tax regime for the exploration companies. As a result of this cosy deal the people of Ireland, and of the Western seaboard in particular, are being robbed of the fruits of what is rightfully theirs.

''Unless Government policy is changed the only beneficiaries of the huge Corrib gas find off Mayo will be the fat-cat directors of Enterprise Oil. This is a massive rip-off which must be challenged and reversed.''

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