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Start domestic drilling for oil, Rural Independents say

The Rural Independent Group of TDs have called for the government to begin drilling domestically for ‘cleaner superior oil’ off the Cork coast. They claim that Barryroe oil field “has the potential to be developed in the short term” and say “it must be given the green light to proceed now.”

Cork South West TD, Michael Collins, said that the current ban on Irish oil and gas exploration should be lifted in the face of the energy crisis – and he described the government’s energy strategy as “hypocrisy” and as “flawed ‘Alice in Wonderland’ policies”,

“This unprecedented energy crisis is compounded by the government’s policy position on energy, which is imprisoned by one-dimensional thinking and oftentimes narrow ideological positioning of the Green Party, leaving Ireland extremely vulnerable,” he said.

“The purely politically-induced ban on Irish oil and gas exploration is bogus, as greater carbon footprints are created through importation. This path also cages all Irish citizens, constraining them into paying more for electricity, gas, home heating oil, petrol, and diesel, while seriously contributing to our cost-of-living burden.  These actions are devoid of any scientific or economic logic and leave Ireland isolated and behind the curve,” he continued.

“Continuing on the government’s current energy path means the cost-of-living crisis in Ireland will only worsen and that when energy supplies further diminish, the end of the pipeline will be nigh, reduced to a trickle.  What happens then?  What does the government intend to do?  It is not a matter of if, but when.”

“Any government that consistently keeps just telling people that energy inflation is bad and rigidly does absolutely nothing to address the fundamental issues, or give people a break by cutting taxes, no longer deserves the support of the people,” Deputy Collins asserted.

He said that severe fuel shortages were now “near certain”.

“The practical reality of the government’s half-baked energy policy means the prospect of severe fuel shortages in a few months’ time is now near certain. Despite the dire situation and warnings for over a year now, the government has failed to publish the Energy Security Review, promised in the Programme for Government in June 2020,” he said.

“Irish citizens deserve better than this, better than a government who is idle and waits for harsh outcomes to materialise. Instead, we need deliberate policy actions taken now, to ensure our dependence on importing oil and gas from dirty dictators is in the rear-view mirror.”

“This government must realise the simple and practical reality – Ireland cannot become a green economy overnight when 87% of our total energy supply still comes from fossil fuels.  The fact that the government is seemingly making Ireland be a green economy already is farcical and delusional.”

“Ireland currently imports 100% of its oil demand. We know that oil and gas will be required for decades to come, and we believe the viable Barryroe oil field, as Ireland’s only indigenous oil discovery, has the potential to be developed in the short term and must be given the green light to proceed now.

“The government must wake up and accept that the Barryroe production is not incompatible with Ireland’s transition to a carbon-neutral economy by 2050.”

“While we certainly believe that offshore wind generation offers Ireland real potential, such projects require proper planning, billions of euros in spending, and a much longer-term timeframe to develop. Furthermore, logjams in the planning system are inhibiting the deployment of renewable electricity generation and transmission capacity.”

“Therefore, developing the Barryroe field now is Ireland’s only route to self-sufficiency and energy security, and this option should not be discounted by the government to please the Green party and hold onto power.”

“As such, our motion is a constructive attempt to force the government to detangle its current mistaken energy policies and ensure the development of Irish oil and gas, which after all, is environmentally superior to what is being imported today and would harness the required energy security, while significantly reducing the costs for all Irish consumers,” concluded Deputy Collins.


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