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ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST: The Corrib Gas controversy

EXTRACTS FROM “ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST” BY LORNA SIGGINS

FROM THE FOREWORD (BY FINTAN O’TOOLE)

Though theoretically citizens in a liberal democracy, those who have stood in the way of the exploitation of the Corrib gas field by a consortium led by Shell found themselves with very little protection from their own government. Instead of seeking to negotiate a settlement on behalf of these citizens, Irish governments aligned themselves to an overwhelming extent with Shell, putting the resources of the state behind the acquisition of land and, when locals objected, mounting a policing operation that at one point included the deployment of the navy.

FROM PAGES 126 &127 (“Ahern” is a reference to Bertie Ahern, a corrupt Irish government minister who became Taoiseach)

When the issue arose again in the Dail, the following month, Ahern insisted there was nothing unethical about his discussion in September with the senior Shell executives. There were ‘no deals or arrangements’ with Shell, he insisted, adding that ‘other countries have ways and means of treating large companies, which I do not agree with. I have had a fair few meetings over the years that might border on the unethical, but I am not guilty of it in this case.’

Four years later, in November 2007, the RoyalDutchShellplc.com website run by Alfred and John Donovan – long-time critics of the multinational – published details of minutes of a meeting of Shell group managing directors on 22 and 23 July 2002. Planning refusal for the Ballinaboy gas terminal in north Mayo was discussed, according to the website, which quoted from the minutes: ‘The committee queried whether the group had sufficiently well placed contacts with the Irish government and regulators. Paul Skinner undertook to explore this issue further in consultation with the country chairman in Ireland.’

ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST can be purchased on Amazon

Book Review The Mayo News 5 October 2010

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