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We're Shelling out to giant

Madam -- O God, where do I start? Alison O'Riordan's piece on John Craven and the headline 'Delay on Corrib has done quite a bit of damage'. Correct words, wrong context though. Let's look at this through the lens of a common person, not John Craven's eyes.

Indeed a lot of damage has been done in Erris regarding the Shell experiment. Neighbour has turned against neighbour. Law-abiding citizens have been criminalised and the gardai have been used as a force in support of Shell -- not as a force for law and order.

Shell has a tax status that will yield nothing to the Government. Some €21m outlay in 2010 brought a tax rebate of €19m that year. Not a cent will go to the State on production of this gas nor will the citizen get a preferential rate on the gas. Hell, Belmullet six miles away won't be even connected to the gas. Neither will Ballina.

Shell used its political might to bully a cowardly government and succeeded.

Politicians with the honourable exception of Gerry Cowley looked the other way. Indeed at one stage a junior minister wished to be seconded to the Mayo County Council to streamline the planning application for Shell.

Three years ago I went home there. The sky had garda helicopters, the sea had the navy and the area was overrun with gardai. My own Erris was almost reduced to a movie set like Saving Private Ryan. I almost cried. A most beautiful spot populated with the salt of the earth was now a playground for government games in support of big business.

The tenor of Mr Craven's call is: let's get the gas in and then worry about tax and the rights or wrongs after. Mr Chavez had a problem with natural resource people like Shell in his bailiwick. He upped the tax take to 75 per cent and guess what? After much moaning, they paid it. Meanwhile, Paddy who will celebrate 100 years since the removal of the foreign oppressor in a few years' time bends over and takes the pipe from Shell.

John Cuffe,



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