10 July 2008 Edition

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Call to suspend Rockall exploration licensing

Pearse Doherty

Pearse Doherty

DONEGAL Sinn Féin Senator Pearse Doherty has called on the 26 County Minister of State at the Department of Communication, Energy and Natural Resources Seán Power TD to suspend his plan to open up 117,100 square kilometres of the Rockall Basin for licensing. Senator Doherty said in light of the recent hike in oil prices the generous licensing conditions being offered need to be reviewed.
He said, “Minister Power announced yesterday that he is to extend the area in the Rockall basin to be opened for licensing in 2009 to include the north-western part of the basin. This brings the total area for licensing to 117,100 square kilometres or one and a half times the size of Ireland.
“In light of the recent hike in fuel prices the Government needs to be looking at the best way to exploit our natural resources to the maximum benefit of the people of this island.
“Sinn Féin would like to see the Government explore the possibility of establishing a state owned exploration company with the remit of exploiting Ireland’s natural resources.
“In the immediate term the plan to open up the basin to licensing in 2009 should be suspended until the generous licensing conditions being offered to the oil and gas industry to drill for our natural resources are reviewed. There must be a generous return to Ireland’s exchequer in return for the sale of our gas and oil.”

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