26 April 2007 Edition

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Donegal concern at gas and oil exploration licenses

MAOR is an Irish word meaning guardian or stewardship, and is an acronym for Mobilise, Act, Overcome, Reclaim, a non-party political group of Donegal residents formed in response to issues surrounding gas and oil exploration and licensing in Donegal.
There are currently nine Frontier Exploration Licenses and five Petroleum Prospecting Licenses outstanding for areas off the Donegal coast (a number are shared with Mayo). Areas which may be affected by exploration and in turn, commercial mining include Malin Head, Tory Island, Gaoth Dobhair, Burtonport, Killybegs and Ballyshannon.
MAOR says that the terms of the companies’ contracts are the same as those of Shell, Statoil and Marathon in Rossport and that this concerns it greatly.
In a statement the Donegal group says: “These terms mean that the people of Ireland get no profits or royalties from our natural resources with companies having to pay very little, if any tax, as the low 25% tax rate is offset against costs accrued over a previous 25 year period.
“We will not get reduced prices for our natural resources as the companies will sell our resources back to us at full market prices. We are not guaranteed a supply of our resources in an emergency. Communities face possible Compulsory Acquisition Orders in the event of onshore refineries, which also bring a range of environmental, health and safety concerns.
“According to the Petroleum Affairs Division (Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources) there is a potential 10 billion barrels of hydrocarbons in the North Atlantic Margin (Donegal to Kerry). At current market prices, the value of these Irish resources is approximately 450 billion euros – from which the people of Ireland will see little benefit.
“This is extremely concerning given the high levels of economic and social disadvantage along the west coast of Ireland, and the state institutions which are losing out from this giveaway of potential revenue, particularly health and education.
“Emerging from the contracts and future exploration and drilling are a range of issues, particularly pressing is that four of the licenses holders off Donegal are obliged to carry out exploratory drilling within the next year as a condition of their licenses. As a group MAOR is focused on three key areas surrounding the aforementioned issues: licensing and exploration, environment (including infrastructure), and community.”
MAOR is planning a range of roadshows in County Donegal to let people know what is happening across the spectrum of issues surrounding exploration and drilling.
The group will hold a formal launch on Saturday, 14 April in the Market Square, Letterkenny featuring Frank Connolly, author of The Great Corrib Gas Controversy, and speakers include Micheál Ó Seighin of the Rossport 5 and a MAOR spokesperson.
MAOR has asked those concerned about any of the issues mentioned, to come to its launch and show support.

For further information email [email protected] or ring 086 3623378 

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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