Monday, 4 February 2013

OilWatch Day School - Save Our Seafront.

Today Save Our Seafront Dun Laoghaire hosted a day school on the issue of oil, oil rigs and all the environmental concerns, legalities and technicalities that go with oil exploration and rigging by large multinational corporations.

50 people gathered in the Kingston Hotel in Dun Laoghaire to learn the issues and discuss a campaign plan for challenging the Minister for the Environment and Tony O' Reilly's company Providence in their plan to explore for oil in Dublin Bay just off the coast of Dalkey.

People Before Profit Dun Laoghaire County Councillor Melisa Halpin chaired the event.

Journalist, campaigner and blogger William Hederman kicked off the day with an session on his findings about Irish oil and gas. Where we have oil and gas off the coast, how much (or how little) we get from it and models used by other countries for oil exploration.

You can see William's blog here:

The next session was on government policy in the area and the research that An Taisce has been doing into the area. Ian Lumley, Heritage Officer from An Taisce gave a well informed lecture and answered all difficult questions.

Ian discussed how all literature from the Irish government indicates a complete "open door policy" towards oil companies and exploration. He went into detail about how oil rigs let out small scale incremental spills on a regular basis and from this the point was raised that this could effect all Blue Flag beaches on the east coast of the country.

The next session was a presentation from Shay Fennelly who is the director of the Irish Whale and Dolphin group. He focused on the wild life of the bay and how a rig, and in particular how the seismic waves, would effect the lives of thousands of sea life. Shay focused on the porpoises in the bay and discussed various EU Habitat Directives.

Apparently, in terms of sea life preservation, the only guidelines for the Irish government is to ensure that they are in line with each EU Directive.

You can view Shay's website here:

The next session was a presentation on the technicalities of oil rigs from former oil rig worker and SIPTU National Offshore Committee member Padraig Campbell. Padraig discussed the potential disastrous effects of a faulty oil rig. Small sparks can lead to a full blown explosion and once it starts it is very hard to stop. Gas keeps being pumped out and flames keep going until everything on the rig is destroyed.

Padriag pointed out how Providence could easily work out of a Welsh port in order to avoid any potential trouble from campaigners. He told us of his time being in Oireachtas committees on oil exploration commenting "we would be in there all they and they wouldn't seem that interested but as soon as the oil company lads walk in they all stand up".

Padraig Campbell.
The last session was given by Richard Boyd Barrett TD and he discussed where to next for the campaign. Suggestions came flying up from the floor with everyone enthusiastic to get the campaign going. People suggested setting up sub-groups, having regular meetings and joining the Irish Congress of Trade Unions' protest this Saturday February 9th and use that day to flyer protesters as a way of getting information across. There was also a general consensus that we will need to look to forming alliances with other groups who are fighting similar environmental issues.

  Richard Boyd Barrett

Do what you can. Join the campaign. Keep the pressure up on politicians and tell your friends and family that we are being robbed. Its all pain and absolutely no gain.

Say No to Oil Rigs in Our Bay!!

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