[Sinn Fein]

3rd December 2002

Ferris: Suspend Oil and Gas Terms

The Sinn Fein Spokesperson on Natural Resources, Martin Ferris TD, has supported the call for all oil and gas exploration licences issued under the terms and conditions introduced by former Energy Minister Ray Burke in 1987 to be suspended. He has also reiterated his earlier demand that Burke s role be made subject to investigation by the Flood Tribunal.

Deputy Ferris was speaking at a Press Conference organised by the Campaign for the Protection of Resources in Dublin this afternoon. The Campaign hopes to encourage wider public interest in what it sees as the scandalous manner in which the country s oil and gas reserves have been handed over to the control of the multi national exploration companies.

Deputy Ferris also referred to the contrast between the potential for economic prosperity contained in the reserves that lie off our coast, with the current cut backs in public spending; None of this would be necessary if this state had retained proper control over our oil and gas reserves and ensured that they were used in the best interests of the people.

He went on to express the hope that the conference would mark the beginning of a popular campaign to take back control of those reserves from the multi nationals. This would include the demand to restore the state s 50% stake in all finds and the full payment by the companies of tax and royalties.''

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