Council for the West Submission to the
EPA Oral Hearing on
the IPPC License - Corrib Gas Terminal
18 April 2007
The Council for the West is a voluntary, independent, non-political body with charitable status established in 1994 to combat the decline in population and services in rural areas of the West of Ireland. It was set up by the Western Bishops arising out of a report entitled Crusade for Survival.
Its membership is comprised of voluntary, non-remunerated persons compromising representation from the main churches, businesses and community activists.
The Council for the West is concerned with major social and economic issues affecting the development of the counties in the region: Donegal, Leitrim, Sligo, Roscommon, Mayo, Galway and Clare.
Chairman: Sean Hannick (Mayo)
Vice Chairman: Declan O'Callaghan (Roscommon)
Secretary: Michael McGarrigle (Donegal)
Treasurer: Ray O'Donoghue (Galway)
Co-ordinator: Caroline Wilson
Council for the West
Killala Business Park
Phone: 096 32975
Fax: 096 32014
As an organisation deeply committed to the development of the West of Ireland and to enhancing the economic and social prosperity of the region, the Council for the West welcomes this oral hearing for the proposed determination of an IPPC license for the Corrib Gas Project. The Council believes that this IPCC licensing system is allowing for an open and transparent examination of all the issues pertaining to the licensing of the gas terminal.
The Council firmly believes that the proposed Corrib gas project is, and will continue to be of immense benefit to both Erris and the Western region. For many decades, Erris suffered from a lack of employment opportunities that led generations to leave their homes and families and seek employment both abroad and more recently in other parts of Ireland.
In this debate here today on the possible effects the gas terminal may have on the local environment, it is important to remember that a large section of the local community currently work and earn their living in the construction of this gas terminal. Between the peat deposition site at Srahmore and the construction work at the terminal nearly 300 jobs have been created. Over 70% of these jobs are filled by Erris people and it is expected that over 700 jobs will eventually be created. Over €1.5million a week is being spent locally on wages, goods and services. Added to this is the spend on ancillary local services such as accommodation and catering and it is amply clear that this project is contributing in a sizeable manner to the local community and economy.
For decades the Western region has lagged behind the rest of Ireland in terms of economic development. One of the reasons for his was the lack of a readily available energy source for industry. Industry needs a reliable and cheaper source of energy. Unlike other regions throughout Ireland, the West lacked the ready availability of such a form of energy. That is until now. The decision by the Commission of Energy Regulation to add eleven towns and villages in the west of Ireland to the natural gas grid is of huge significance for the economic development of our region. It ensures that we now possess a greater possibility of attracting additional industry and securing more employment possibilities. We have been told repeatedly by IDA Ireland over the last number of years that they could not show any major energy using industry north of a line from Galway to Carrick in Shannon because of the lack of a proper electricity transmission system. Now with the availability of gas a combined heat and power generation system can be installed to power a major industry or industrial estate.
In conclusion, the Council for the West recognises the expertise and independence of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Furthermore the Council for the West commends the mission of the EPA to protect and improve the natural environment for present and future generations, taking into account the environmental, social and economic principles of sustainable energy.