FAQ

1: But don’t we need all the promised jobs in this area and in current circumstances?

We certainly need more jobs in this area; but only real, sustainable jobs and jobs that do not cause worse unemployment elsewhere.

This industry is famous for exaggerating the number of jobs created before they get licences in the US! Jobs created include highly skilled jobs and lower skilled jobs. Highly skilled jobs will be sourced from overseas; lower skilled jobs could be outsourced to low cost labour on contract. The number of full-time jobs could be as low as two per well-pad.

This view was reinforced by the recent withdrawal of an ‘offer’ of 1200 training places to a North-West third-level college.

2: Doesn’t the country need the money right now?

The “Licence Options” in place at present have been given away for free. Future “Exploration Licences” might have a small fee attached, nothing of any real significance. If, by some misjudgement, “Production Licences” were issued, there would be corporation taxes of 25% to be paid as well as day-to-day taxes. However, such taxes are to be paid on profits, less any and all exploration or development costs, going back up to 25 years. This will very considerably reduce these payments.

Another difficulty is that at present gas is being sold at a considerable loss in the US. The companies there are building ports to create a huge export traffic in gas. This suggests that gas produced in Ireland might not actually make any money for anyone. The worst that would happen then is abandonment of sites by ‘broke’ companies leaving inadequate bonds and a large bill for the Irish taxpayer for the inevitable clean-up. (Just look at the Cork Harbour derelict steel company clean-up recently.)

3: Can we rely on our anti pollution regulations to protect us?

This comes at a time when all public services including environmental regulation are being cut back. The Government is under severe pressure to reduce state spending. A regulatory system that could oversee the shale gas industry is not in place in Ireland, or even in the EU. In particular, the resources required to independently monitor shale gas extraction would be huge; self-regulation by the industry is shown to be totally unreliable wherever this industry operates. The answer to the question is therefore “no”.

4: Are my children safe?

In relation to air pollution, fumes and smog from drilling, fracking, machinery and heavy vehicles (thousands per pad,) containing heavy metals, toxic air pollutants and fine dust which is a risk to public health causing asthma or bronchial diseases in children. Hydraulic Fracturing  has been around for a relatively short period of time it is not yet possible to quantify the long term health effects. Studies are however starting to appear in scientific journals that show that this process has significant long-term effects on human and animal health.

5: Who will benefit from any gas obtained by “fracking”?

The companies who extract it. There will be a very real and large cost to Ireland, due to increased healthcare costs, increased water and air pollution costs, increased costs of attempting to control and regulate this process, costs of damage to roads and infrastructure, damage to land where it cannot be returned to farming, or has access roads or pipelines through it, damage to landscape that will seriously impact on the regions livelihood from tourism.

6: Does this mean that our gas bill will be reduced?

The gas already belongs to Tamboran under the terms of its options license, if the gas is extracted we will have a chance to buy it back but at market price. This can only be understood to mean Irish shale gas will be no cheaper than imported gas.

This comes at a time when all public services including environmental regulation are being cut back. The Government is under severe pressure to reduce state spending. A regulatory system that could oversee the shale gas industry is not in place in Ireland, or even in the EU. In particular, the resources required to independently monitor shale gas extraction would be huge; self-regulation by the industry is shown to be totally unreliable wherever this industry operates. The answer to the question is therefore “no”.

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