19 April 2001 Edition

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TG4 poll 'encouraging'

Sinn Féin's Sean Crowe has described the results of a TG4 poll of his Dublin South West constituency as ``encouraging''. The poll of 400 people from the four-seater constituency showed Crowe winning 18% of first preferences. In the younger age groups Crowe's support was even greater, with 27% of the 18 to 24 age group, and 29% of the 25 to 34 age group.

Crowe was cautious about the poll results, which he described as ``only a snapshot of public opinion''. However, Crowe did predict that ``I am confident that following the next election Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin will not be the only Sinn Féin TD in Leinster House''.

``Sinn Féin is reaching more people through its work in the peace process and with our radical republican and labour politics. In many areas we are the only party really active on the ground on the issues that matter to people. We have a proven track record of hard work and integrity, untainted by the scandals of corruption in planning among establishment politicians.

``It is the record of delivering locally and nationally that will return electoral success for Sinn Féin,'' said Crowe.

SIPTU welcome oil u-turn

Governments and ministers are well known for changing their minds, or to put it more simply - breaking promises. However, the news that Frank Fahey, Dublin Government Marine and Natural Resources minister, is to review the 1992 oil and gas exploration terms, is to be welcomed.

The review is welcome because the 26 Counties has the most lax, low tax oil and gas exploration licences in the worlds. There are no royalties on any resources found, all costs are written off against tax and corporation tax on profits is extremely low compared to the conditions oil exploration companies operate in throughout the rest of the world.

It has never been fully explained why such lax terms were ever agreed in the first place. The fruits of such an ill thought policy are showing up in the complete lack of control the Dublin government has in the huge commercial finds made by Enterprise, Marathon and Statoil in the Corrib field off the coast of Mayo. The Dublin Government now has to pay for piping the gas ashore and buy back what was until 1992 an Irish resource.

SIPTU, which represents offshore oil workers, has welcomed the decision as has Sinn Féin's Mayo representative Vincent Woods.

Last year, Fahey described calls for such a review as ``codswallop''. Despite this assurance there has still been little movement on the other crucial issue of returning Irish workers to the oil exploration rigs being used to drill off the Irish coastline. SIPTU spokesperson Padraig Campbell said the union was extremely concerned at the lack of job opportunities for high skilled Irish-based oil-rig workers.

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