The State has received over €104m in royalty payments from the operator of the Kinsale and Ballycotton gas fields off the coast of Cork since 1998, new figures show.
According to new figures provided by the Junior Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Sean Kyne, the State last year got €700,000 in royalties from Kinsale and Ballycotton. The payments have been at their lowest level over the past two years in the figures provided to TD Catherine Murphy in a written Dáil reply covering the past two decades.
The payout of €700,000 last year followed a payout of €300,000 in 2016. The amount received last year is just a fraction of the €12.2m in royalties received from the two fields in 2006.
Minister Kyne said royalties are not payable in respect of production from the Seven Heads and Corrib gas fields. Last year, the new operator of the Corrib Gas Field, Vermilion, told investors that it does not expect any cash income taxes from profits on the project "for the foreseeable future".
Deputy Murphy said yesterday: "The Corrib licence was granted under an older licensing system. No royalties are payable, just corporation tax of 25pc less any allowances that the companies enjoy. That system was completely flawed and yet again we find that there are only marginal returns for taxpayers from new gas finds.
"It's important to remember that these are citizen-owned fields. Companies are here because we let them. We are effectively giving away our natural resources for very little return," she claimed.