Wednesday, 22 February 2012
Shannon LNG Project
Martin Ferris (Kerry North-West Limerick, Sinn Fein)
In conjunction with my colleagues from County Kerry, I have brought this brought to the Minister's attention in the hope he can resolve the outstanding matters. As Deputies Spring and Griffin have stated, the project involves approximately 750 jobs, of which 650 would be created in the construction phase. A further 100 permanent jobs would be created thereafter.
Last Friday the Commission for Energy Regulation, CER, published a draft recommendation on tariffs for gas interconnectors which would apply to companies such as Shannon LNG which states it will not use them. A public consultation process is ongoing and at last Monday's meeting of Kerry County Council Mr. Paddy Power of Shannon LNG told the council that the move constituted a fundamental change in Government policy. He stated it was akin to turning up at a football match only to be told one would be playing a game of hurling. This issue must be resolved. I suggest both the Minister and the Taoiseach meet all Deputies from the county as soon as possible. County Kerry is one of the country's black spots; the North Kerry constituency has an unemployment rate of more than 26%. Consequently, it is in urgent need of an input to try to create jobs as young people are being lost on a daily basis. Current developments at Tarbert and Ballylongford are matters that can be resolved politically by a change of policy, if that is what it takes, to ensure jobs are attracted to that part of the county.
I reiterate that I will work with my fellow Deputies, all of whom are wearing the Kerry jersey in this instance and the Irish jersey in respect of job creation. It is essential that this matter be sorted out and if that requires the banging together of heads around the table, so be it. However, matters must not be allowed to continue as they are. The issue is limping on from week to week and there is no light at the end of the tunnel, only speculation. Consequently, the matter must be resolved. Were Members to work together politically, this could be done. I again express my hope the Minister can arrange an urgent meeting with the Deputies from the constituency, as well as the Senators from County Kerry.