Locals struggle to understand delays

DÓNAL NOLAN

BALLYLONGFORD and Tarbert locals are deeply angry and struggling to make sense of the latest, bleak turn in the longrunning LNG saga.

"It just makes no sense at all to us and people here are very, very angry, particularly with our politicians," Chairman of the Ballylongford Enterprise Company Noel Lynch said.

"The Regulator said he is giving himself two years to make a final decision on the tarrifs and Paddy Power of LNG made it very clear that the company is not going to hang around for that length of time. It is crazy that the politicians of our country could let it come to this and Ballylongford is deeply angry with them."

What locals see as pointless bureaucracy put in the way of Shannon LNG is a particularly sore point, Mr Lynch said. "Changes in the gas industry in 2001 made it clear that the market here was going to become much more competitive and it was on that basis the LNG came into the market here..

"At no stage was this tarrif flagged to the company over the six long years of the planning process. They have already invested $72 million in the process so far. Now, the CER made it quite clear it would take direction from the government on policy in relation to this issue, we don't know why the politicians said they couldn't and that no direction was given. This is the worst possible thing they could have given to us.

"People are very, very angry locally. It is clear to us that this could be the endgame for LNG and if it goes there is only one group people here will hold responsible, our politicians."

Ballylongford publican and Enterprise Company member Micheal Finucane said people cannot believe what is happening.

"It just looks like anything outside of Dublin doesn't come into the equation. They don't give a fig about us down here. Shannon LNG got all the planning, the licences, they have asked for no grants, they are going to buy the land, create hundreds of jobs in the near future and bring down the price of gas nationally. How could it be any better?"

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