Norway’s Gain – Ireland’s Shame

February 28, 2007 at 9:48 am | Posted in Statements | Leave a comment

Yesterday, the Norwegian Central Bank reported that the country’s ‘Oil Fund’ – the revenues from the oil and gas industry extracted by the Norwegian State for the pensions of its citizens – stood at a whopping NOK 1,784 trillion (about USD 291 billion) by the end of 2006. This is equivalent to 220.6 billion euros. Given Norway’s population of 4.7 million this amounts to there being 46,900 euro invested for pension purposes for every citizen. This wise and efficient State planning stands in sharp contrast to the Irish governments appalling misuse of our indigenous gas reserves. Corrib gas is being given away with minimal benefits to the Irish people. No royalties are being extracted, no equity share taken, no windfall tax levied. All exploration and development costs can be written off against tax at 100% from Year One. This is at a time when we are hearing ongoing horror stories from the country’s hospitals. To criticize this shocking situation is not to adopt an ideological position. It is simply bad business, bad management and takes the term ‘rip-off republic’ to new heights. What Irish citizens deserve is nothing more radical or subversive than simply the Norwegian model. First, community agreement to oil and gas projects which directly impact on their health and safety. Second, real benefits derived from those projects to benefit all the nation’s citizens.  The tragedy of Corrib is that the citizens of Norway will receive more benefits from this resource than the citizens of Ireland. Norway’s gain is Ireland’s shame.  

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