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Wretched Shell Corrib Gas saga

Tuesday April 13, 2010

Western People

Let’s see if Bellanaboy rules apply in Dalkey

By: James Laffey – Editor’s Chair

Dalkey is about to become Ireland’s Dubai. Providence Resources is set to commence drilling for oil off the coast of Ireland’s most chic village, which is home to celebrities like Bono, Neil Jordan, Enya, Van Morrison and Pat Kenny.

Obviously one assumes that in such a fair and democratic society as Ireland the same rules will apply in fashionable Dalkey as have been implemented in faraway Bellanaboy. So, let’s speculate on the terrible fate that awaits the good burghers of Dalkey.

A decade of reporting on the Corrib gas project has given this writer an unrivalled insight into the vagaries of oil and gas exploration. For example, the people of Dalkey may be of the view that their new oil field should be processed at sea but such notions are totally outdated. As they might say in Dalkey: that’s so twentieth century.

Here in Mayo we know only too well that it’s perfectly safe to process gas and oil on land and it’s also significantly cheaper.We know these things because Shell E&P, the largest exploration company in the world, has cited onshore processing as the best possible method of harvesting Ireland’s ever expanding treasure trove of natural resources. And what’s good enough for Bellanaboy is surely good enough for Dalkey. Isn’t it?

So, being a firm believer in the equitable nature of Irish society I expect the Dalkey oil find to play out as follows:
A terminal will be constructed somewhere in the vicinity of Dalkey village. A woodland site would be preferable, owned by Coillte and available at a knockdown rate. Obviously there may be a little bit of concern amongst locals at the building of an oil processing facility in their village but the creation of 40 full-time jobs should ameliorate any lingering doubts. If there is continued opposition one assumes that the locals will be reminded – in an ever so patronising manner – of the vital national interest that will be served by this project going ahead. It would be unthinkable were it to be stopped because of such minor issues as health and safety.

Obviously there will need to be a pipeline connecting the new terminal to the oil field but that should not be a major problem as there are some very vast gardens in Dalkey that could be compulsorily purchased for the laying of the pipeline. Bono and his fellow villagers may be a little perturbed at the notion that oil is to be pumped at high pressure through their back gardens and they may even resort to legal action in an attempt to protect their properties. Unfortunate as it may seem, the villagers who refuse to sign over their gardens will have to be sent to jail indefinitely. Small-minded Neanderthals who are determined to keep Ireland in the dark ages cannot be allowed to compromise the national interest. We need security of supply for oil and gas in the 21st century; it’s as simple as that. And if heavilyarmed gardaí have to beat up Van Morrison then so be it; and if Neil Jordan has the audacity to film the scenes he’ll face the full rigours of the law in Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

But, of course, I jest. Such a scenario is utterly far-fetched and could never happen in Ireland, least of all in a village populated by the powerful and the wealthy.

Therefore, anyone who has followed the wretched Corrib Gas saga will watch Dalkey with interest because one suspects that the outrageous policies of the Wild West will not be applied in Ireland’s most fashionable address.

Equality and fairness! The only place you’ll find those principles in modern Ireland is in the tattered copies of the 1916 Proclamation that hang on museum walls.

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