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Corrib gas delay ‘extraordinary’ – Martin

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

MARY MINIHAN

MINISTER FOR Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin has said it is “extraordinary” that gas from the Corrib field off Co Mayo has not yet been brought onshore.

At a meeting of the Oireachtas European affairs committee yesterday Mr Martin referred to the recent gas dispute between Russia and the Ukraine. He said the impact of the stand-off had been very serious.

“It is very, very clear one of the most pressing issues facing Europe is energy security,” he said.

“We need to reflect on the fact that we have found it so difficult to bring gas onshore.”

Stressing that he was offering a personal view, Mr Martin said it was “extraordinary” that a natural resource had been found but not put to use. He said Minister for Energy Eamon Ryan was working with local communities in Co Mayo.

The chairman of the committee, Bernard Durkan of Fine Gael, said the gas was “ready, willing and waiting” to be exploited for the benefit of the nation.

Mr Durkan suggested that accessing the Corrib gas could be particularly useful given that the country was experiencing an economic downturn.

Mr Martin told Mr Durkan his point on energy security was well made.

The Corrib gas field is expected to go into production by the end of next year or the beginning of 2011, according to recent reports.

It could supply up to 60 per cent of Ireland’s gas needs when it is fully up-and-running.

Independent Senator Feargal Quinn asked if Ireland was going to consider the possibility of nuclear power in future.

He said it was something that would not have been considered “before the financial crisis”.

The Senator said he was not an advocate of nuclear power. “I don’t know enough about it,” he said.

Green Senator Deirdre de Búrca said she was “disappointed to hear nuclear energy being revived as a panacea for all ills”.

 

This article appears in the print edition of the Irish Times

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