Deenihan to raise delays at Cabinet

Dónal Nolan

REACTION to the Commission for Energy Regulation decision from politicians in Kerry became increasingly frantic this week as they struggled to formulate a response to the announcement.

Shannon LNG CEO Paddy Power told Kerry County Council on Monday that the decision could result in the company having to pay €75 million per annum in tarriffs to the State; a figure believed to be unviable for the company.

Minister Jimmy Deenihan, who has supported the project from the beginning but now finds himself in a government that is coming under increasing criticism in Kerry for its handling of the latest episode in the LNG saga, said he will be raising the matter immediately at Cabinet. He suggested the government shares the concerns of Shannon LNG.

"I will be raising the matter with Energy Minsiter Pat Rabbitte and Taoiseach Enda Kenny. This is so important, we cannot lose this project. It would be a major blow to the region. I will be in direct contact with Shannon LNG who are very concerned about it and we share those concerns."

Fianna Fáil Senator Ned O'sullivan said the government must come up with a package to recompense LNG if the CER paper results in heavy tarriffs for the company. "This is quite a sizeable setback for the principal players. The government has to ensure that the project goes ahead for the good of the region. I will be calling on the government and Minister Deenihan to look at alternative ways Shannon LNG could be recompensed for paying for the interconnector," he said.

Tarbert native and Fine Gael county councillor Jim Finucane is organising a meeting between Kerry County Council and the Taoiseach in the near future. "A settlement conference has to be established now, under an independent facilitator to work out a formula acceptable to all sides. The CER is talking about workshops on the issue, but the time for that and for meetings about meetings is over, we have to enter a decision-making process now."