A bird's eye view of the vineyard
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Dublin Opinion >>
Eddie Hobbs: Largest act of larceny against Irish people
Eddie Hobbs has repeatedly in the last few years brought up the fact that we don't own our own natural resources and that they have been given away. Unfortunately he hasn't got much traction with the establishment simply because they don't want to listen. This hasn't stopped him and yesterday in the Irish Examiner he has again written about the great ripoff in the context of the recent release of the film-documentary, The Atlantic produced by the same producer of The Pipe.
Here are some extracts from the article in the Irish Examiner:
We don’t own our natural resources under Article 10 of the Constitution. It needs to be repealed, but is there anyone with the bottle to take it on, asks Eddie Hobbs
Atlantic, narrated by the feral voice of Brendan Gleeson, is the second in a remarkable series of evocative films by Risteard O’Domhnaill who, starting with The Pipe...
..... Atlantic brings the audience the story of the North Atlantic itself and the battle between local and international corporations — a struggle, at its heart, between individuals and closely bound communities and those who are lobbied, in national government and in Brussels.
The film, now screening to audiences throughout the country, hits deep, interweaving the common issues between the peoples of Newfoundland, Norway, and Ireland, and telling the story of how each fared in the struggle to retain ownership and control of natural resources, against the backdrop of the huge decline in fishing stocks from industrialisation by massive fleets and the tension between sonic booming from oil explorers and the marine ecosystem.
...The territory of Ireland extends nearly half ways across the North Atlantic. It is an area six times our land mass within which we are entitled to fishing stocks in low digits and under which we’ve given away the rights to hydrocarbons, ever since Fianna Fáil minister Ray Burke, unaccompanied by civil servants in meetings with oil and gas explorers in 1987, reversed the actions taken by Justin Keating in the 1970s.
The Labour minister had mimicked those of far-sighted Norwegian politicians in their struggle against multinational explorers. Atlantic revisits the clash between the people’s rights to a fair share of rents from natural resources and powerful business interests aligned against them by telling the story of how Newfoundland stood up to the landlocked Canadian capital of Ottawa and the big oil lobby to secure the type of share Keating had once won.
Despite the fury surrounding the water debate, few in Ireland still grasp how the Irish people are, uniquely in Europe, alienated from their own natural resources — in short, we don’t own them.
That means the fish in our seas, the hydrocarbons underneath, the wind that blows across the land and the fresh water that flows through it, are not owned by the Irish people.
In what is, arguably the largest act of larceny in our short history, Dev’s 1937 Constitution, reversed the 1922 Constitution and passed ownership of all natural resources from the ancient Irish people to the recently founded State under Article 10, then made its trusteeship unchallengeable in the courts....
...Until and unless the Irish people demand the return of all our natural resources by overturning Article 10, we remain captive not just to the uncomfortable trade-offs in the ongoing EU existential struggle, but also to a State polity that will do just about anything to preserve its privileges.....