Crime Scandal

Corrib Pipeline Protests

There was a shocking figure in yesterday’s Irish Times.  According to figures in Fintan O Toole’s article, the police are spending almost as much of their budget on keeping protesters away from the Shell construction site as they spend in a whole year fighting organised crime in the whole country.

Think about that.  Huge sums of tax money and millions of police hours are being spent policing people  protesting against a private company.

A private company.  People who object to the activities of a private foreign company are being arrested by our police.

How did this happen?

How did it come about that the law was changed so that people could be thrown off their land to let Shell and its partners build their pipeline?  This was probably unconstitutional, but they got away with it, and when the farmers tried to stop their land being taken by this private company, they were jailed.

Ah, you might say.  These farmers are stopping progress.  We need the gas.

To which I’ll reply, indeed we do need the gas.  And why, therefore, are we letting Shell take it, without paying us a cent for it?

Not a single cent.

But at least we have our gas supplies guaranteed, you might point out.

I’m afraid you’d be wrong.  When Shell takes this gas, free, from our shores, it will sell it on the open market where we will compete with the rest of the world to buy it back.

In many ways, it’s a pity these protesters are getting all the headlines, and distracting attention from the real scandal which is the theft of a vital national resource by a private company with the connivance and support of our government and its police force.  A more cynical person might think that the protesters are working on behalf of Shell to provide a smokescreen while it goes about its theft.

How did all this happen?  How did it come about that a private company could not only take our energy supplies but could do so with the full support of the government?

Would you like a hint?

All right then.  I’ll give you two hints.

Ray Burke.  Bertie Ahern.


Previously on Bock:

The Oil Company, The Crooked Politician and the Theft of Ireland’s Energy Resources

Crime Politics

The Oil Company, The Crooked Politician and the Theft of Ireland’s Energy Resources

Try this experiment.

Ask anyone you know how much royalties Shell Oil and its partners are paying the country to take our gas from the Corrib Field.  I tried this over the past few days and I got answers ranging from fifty per cent? to probably very little.

Nobody came up with the correct answer, which is Not a single penny.

Did you know that?  Did you know that the energy consortium, whose pipeline is being forced past protesters by hundreds of our own police, pays nothing at all to this country for taking our natural resources?  Did you know that we give it to them free, and, when they finish building their refinery, they intend to sell it back to us at full market price?

It’s ironic that this consortium also includes Statoil, the Norwegian state-owned energy company.  It’s especially interesting to contrast the terms dictated by the Norwegian government with those our own government imposes on exploration companies.

In Norway, not only do they take royalties on all gas produced, but in addition they impose a 78% corporation tax. They also force the oil companies to take them on as full partners. This strategy has allowed them to accumulate a fund of €150 billion for the benefit of Norwegian citizens.  In Ireland, we charge no royalties, because they were abolished by Ray Burke when he became Minister for Energy in 1987.  (Ray Burke, you might recall, is a convicted crook, declared corrupt by the Flood Tribunal, and who subsequently spent time in jail for failing to declare payments to him by a broadcasting company at a time when he was responsible for awarding it a licence).

Against the advice of his senior advisers, Burke met the oil industry’s representatives alone, unaccompanied by officials who might report on what was discussed, and after that meeting overturned the existing procedures laid down by previous ministers.  He abandoned Ireland’s right to a 50% share in any find.  As if that wasn’t generous enough, Ray then gave them a 100% tax write-off against all their exploration, production and development costs for 25 years, without defining exactly what these terms mean.  To put it another way, he gave them a mechanism to minimise their tax liabilities to us, even though the profits are made by taking our resources for nothing and selling them back to us at the top rate.

This minister, responsible for protecting the nation’s interests, gave away all our resources to a private company following secret meetings with their representatives.  Does that stink or does it not?

The politicians weren’t finished yet, though.

In 1992, when he was Minister for Finance, good old Bertie Ahern (who else?) reduced the corporation tax on energy companies from 50% to 25%, saying it would improve our competitive position in attracting exploration companies.  This is the lowest tax rate in the world.

Now, I don’t understand any of this.

Why would one minister sign a deal with a huge exploration company, giving them our gas for nothing?

And why would another minister reduce their tax bill to almost nothing?

Let’s compare Norway and Ireland again for a second.  We’ll do it in a table.

Ireland Norway
Royalties zero 51.5%
Corporation tax 25% 78%
Shared ownership zero 50%

Of course, some royalties will go to benefit the private citizen, but the only problem is that the citizen will be in Norway.  Maybe somebody should tell the Norwegian press that their government is actively involved in a criminal enterprise involving the theft of resources from a friendly European nation.

There’s a simple solution: tear up all the agreements.  Tell them the deals were made corruptly, we won’t let our country be robbed by crooks like Burke, and if they want to come back with a better offer, we’re listening.

Do you think they’ll walk away?  Not a chance.

Despite that fact that we’re now running a huge budget deficit, and the fact that there will have to be savage cutbacks to compensate for it, do you think this miserable, cringeing government has either the balls or the brains to confront the exploration companies and accuse them of being thieves?

I’m afraid not.  After all, this is the only country in the world that doesn’t bother to have full-time monitoring staff on the exploration platforms.  We take the word of the energy companies when they tell us how commercially viable a find is.

It can hardly come as a surprise, in a country like this, run by such incompetent crooks, that our national police force has been put at the disposal of Shell and its business partners.  It can come as no surprise that the same police force is routinely beating protesters out of the way so that Shell and partners can construct the facility they need to rob this country blind.

That’s the country we live in.  A disgrace.


Irish General Election

I see our government has decided to go to the country.

Great. Time to start torturing those political reptiles that call to your door once every four years. After all, even if you didn’t disagree with their policies, it’s very hard to like a heavily-sweating man in a bad suit with a gigantic belly and highly-suspect hair.

I hate these people, but I don’t – obviously – expect you to be so vehement. Obviously. Did I mention that I hate these fuckers? Yes. However, you don’t need to be anywhere near as vehement. Just ask them a few questions when they come to your door, and while I think of it, may I just enter a small caveat? Thanks.

Caveat: This is a completely non-party site. This site hates all political parties equally, naturally, because they are all equally power-grabbing scum-sucking cynical parochial arse-licking morality-free fuckheads. All of them. Including the Greens, the Browns, the Greys, the Socialists, the Socialites, the Luddites, the Lignites, the Meteorites, the Bentonites and of course, the Gelignites. Not to mention Hurricane Johnny and the Jets. The whole dishonest, shit-eating lot of them.

That is Bock’s view on politicians, both established and incipient. A crowd of wankers. Tosspots.

However, as only one party has been in power in this benighted little country for a generation, unfortunately it’s going to look as if I have adopted some kind of party-political stance, when in fact it’s simply that there isn’t anyone else to attack. I mean, the only people who have fucked up in recent memory are the government parties. OK? That makes sense.

Here’s my suggestion. I’ll make a list of hard questions. You can paste them on the inside of your front door and then, instead of listening to the nauseating shite you know they’re going to throw at you, simply say

Hold on a minute. I have a couple of questions.

What do you think? Is this revolutionary or what? People with real questions challenging real stupid politicians.

Now here’s a problem. Because this is Ireland, a small tiny little country on the periphery of just about everything, there are certain things I can’t recommend to you. For example, I can’t suggest you say

Why did you invade Iraq, you murdering fucker?

Of course not. We didn’t invade Iraq.

You could, however, ask something along the lines of

Why did you give Shannon Airport for the use of the US military to invade Iraq, you murdering- by-proxy fucker?

Or you could try something more parochial. For example, you could ask

Why did you give €1,200,000,000 of my money to bail out the religious orders who raped and abused Irish children? For clarity, that would be one thousand two hundred million euros. Could you explain that please? Thanks.

And if you draw a blank on that, maybe you could ask them the following:

How much of the profits from the Corrib gas field go to the Irish citizen?

[Hint 1: The answer is not a penny]

[Hint 2. This is where the Government has sent 200 police to beat the local protesters off the roads while real criminals walk around unhindered everywhere else.]

[Hint 3 This was the deal signed by the convicted fraudster and crook Ray Burke when he was Minister for Energy.]

You might add another supplementary question if you feel sufficently splenetic:

When he gave away this valuable national asset to Shell, how much did Ray Burke make out of the deal?

[Hint: No problem, Ray. Sue me.]

And as this is a Limerick-based site here’s a local one.

Limerick is a much smaller town than Dublin. It only has a population of about 120,000 people in the greater area, compared to the 1.2 million of Dublin. Therefore the most we could expect is a tenth of whatever Dublin gets, per head of population. For instance, as the Luas tram system in Dublin cost €800 million, wouldn’t it seem reasonable that we could have €80 million spent on a tram system for Limerick? A tenth, in other words.

That way, it would be less annoying to see all our tax money spent on a city we don’t live in.

Fine. Here’s the question:

When will the government spend as much per head of population on Limerick’s public transport as they did in Dublin?

[Note: Substitute Cork, Galway, Waterford, Sligo or wherever else you prefer.]

Isn’t it great? And we’re only starting on these bastards.


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Limerick builder hits the big time

Isn’t it great to see a Limerick contractor do well? Roadbridge, owned by Pat Mulcair, is the main contractor in the Corrib gas pipeline. This project, you might remember, involves a deal made by the convicted crook Ray Burke, who was Minister for Energy at the time.

After hard negotiations, Ray Burke signed a deal with Shell Oil as a result of which the Irish citizens received precisely NO royalties for the extraction of our gas from beneath our territorial waters.

There are currently 200 guards in Mayo forcing the builders past a local protest, in order to guarantee the Irish taxpayers their 0% stake in this project.

Ray Burke is a crook. Roadbridge are the builders. Shell take all the money.

Fuck you.

And me.

The end.