[Sinn Fein]

8th May 2003

Morgan Questions Minister Over Corrib Gas

In the Dáil this afternoon, the Sinn Fein spokesperson on the Environment, Arthur Morgan TD, questioned the Minister of State for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Frank Fahey on the ongoing controversy concerning the Corrib Gas development. Last week An Bord Pleanala ruled against the Shell subsidiary Enterprise in its application to build an on-shore terminal at Bellanaboy Wood, County Mayo.

Deputy Morgan said;

"Is it not time to postpone any further development of the Corrib Field until there has been a full investigation of the many dubious decisions which led to Shell securing the licence. For example, why is it not possible to find out what price was paid when Bellanaboy Wood was sold to the company? Even Coillte Board members have been denied this information.

"There are also other issues that need to be examined. Why was it that a company called Enterprise Energy Ireland Offshore Incorporated was established in the Bahamas in October 1996 at the very time they were claiming that technical problems were preventing the company making a proper appraisal of the Corrib deposit. Is it not the case in fact that they were well aware of the extent of the find but chose to conceal this.

"The entire history of Shell's involvement in Corrib has been surrounded by controversy and I would urge the Government to use the opportunity presented by An Bord Pleanala to begin a full re-assessment not only of the Corrib project but of mineral resources development in general. As part of this I would like to see a revision of the licensing terms so that the state can ensure that the real owners of our natural resources, the people of Ireland, are allowed benefit from the wealth that lies off our coast".

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