Wednesday 25 April 2018

None of political parties fit for purpose

The Coalition at first seemed competent, now it shows signs of multi-policy disorder, says Eddie Hobbs

Pat Rabbitte. Photo: Tom Burke
Pat Rabbitte. Photo: Tom Burke

Eddie Hobbs

THE Edinburgh-based consultants at the video-conference in April looked overhead to their big TV screen just above their camera – as we did in Dublin – giving the impression of a bunch of gold fish talking to one another from the surfaces of neighbouring fish tanks. The topic? What might lie at the bottom of the murky deep.

The consultants, Scottish multinational firm Wood Mackenzie, are on a tight deadline to report by the middle of this month to Pat Rabbitte, the Minister for Communications Energy and Natural Resources, on whether or not Ireland's offshore oil and gas pricing model is 'fit for purpose'.

In commissioning the review, Mr Rabbitte was responding two years after a Joint Oireachtas Committee suggested that Irish taxation rates on offshore oil and gas were too low and needed to double to 80 per cent for new licences. But before commissioning the report, Mr Rabbitte committed Ireland to release a fresh new round of offshore drilling licences by June this year, almost as if the outcome was predetermined, the review merely a box-ticking exercise – not fit for purpose.

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