14 April 2015
By Bryan T. Smyth
Workers’ Party Cork City Councillor Ted Tynan has called on the Fine Gael-Labour coalition government to “re-nationalise the Whitegate Refinery in the national interest” and to ensure Ireland retains the ability to refine oil products and keep a strategic reserve in case of future oil shortages which could become a reality in the event of growing threats of war in Ukraine and the Middle East.
Cllr. Tynan pointed out that the refinery and the strategic Whiddy Island storage depot in Bantry Bay had been sold for a nominal sum in 2001. “This sale, a decision of the then Fianna Fáil / PD government should never have gone ahead. The refinery has struggled on since with constant uncertainty surrounding its future. If it is bought by another operator that uncertainty will continue or worse still, the refinery will close leading to hundreds of jobs being shed and the loss of a vital national facility”, said the Workers Party councillor.
“If we lose Whitegate, and with it Whiddy, we also close off the possibility of refining our own oil in the event that already discovered reserves are realised. Otherwise they will have to be refined abroad where they will create many jobs instead of here where they are needed. Have we learned nothing from the Corrib debacle or from the disgraceful sale of oil and gas reserves? These facilities were sold for a pittance and the private operators have failed. The Workers’ Party calls on the government to set aside its ideological hang ups and see commonsense by expropriating both Whitegate and Whiddy and redeveloping them both in the national interest”.