Monday, October 22, 2007


There's a Head 2 Head debate in today's Irish Times about the Erris gas terminal and pipeline, between Pádraig Cosgrove (in support) and Maura Harrington (NIMBY).

Mr Cosgrove's piece is standard stuff - investment in a deprived region, jobs for the locals, cash for the community from a large multi-national eager to appear to be responsible corporate citizens. He also points out the undeniable truth that a lot of the protestors are from outside the area - in my words, a bunch of self-important wannabes who fancy themselves as anti-globalisation protestors (i.e. half-wits).

Ms Harrington's piece is great, however, because surely any reading of it shows that the protestors don't deserve even a modicum of sympathy...

'It is standard Big Oil spin to talk in terms of "local benefit", when the
bottom line for all such corporations - in this instance Royal Dutch Shell - is
the maximisation of shareholder profit. Shell makes a conservative €2 million
profit per hour, 24/7. To talk therefore of "benefits" of €1 million here, or
€20 million there, is insulting when it is looked at in terms of one or 10 hours
of Shell profit in any one year.'
So what?! She makes it sound like she's just exposed their dirty big secret. Since when was maximising profits some kind of great evil? Shell are quite free to insult me with €1 million any time they like!

"...[I]n Rossport, Dooncarton/Glengad and Pullathomas (the scene of major
landslides in 2003) - in fact all the villages in the parish of Kilcommon -
there exists an intelligently informed resolve that the project as proposed is
unacceptable. This resolve is attested by over 80 per cent of parish inhabitants
willingly signing a petition to that effect."
A petition? Democracy is now having someone shove a clipboard in your face to see if you have the balls to risk being seen to go against the local loudmouths? And what has a landslide got to do with anything? Straw-man argument.

There then follows the standard puff about how beautiful the area is, as if extracting natural resources guarantees its destruction. Of course you can point to examples all over the world where that has, indeed, happened. But one does not automatically follow the other and that is why you elect governments to create agencies like the EPA to ensure a company abides by the regulations set down. I have worked for two major multi-nationals and have dealt with the EPA in both. It is a fine, dedicated organisation that deserves to be trusted by the citizens to do its job.

"In Erris, there is support for the proposed project from the usual
quarters, the Chamber of Commerce, the golf club, local party politicians and
anybody who is currently making a few bob."
An ad hominem argument, bordering on the slanderous.

"The Rossport Five and the Shell to Sea campaign have done the State some
God she's delusional. Trying to leave us dependant on foreign countries for our fuel and energy needs on the basis of lies, innuendo, weak analogies and a poor grasp of science and engineering. That's some service alright.

I wonder if she's gone back teaching yet (you know, the job she's paid to do from the taxes paid by private sector workers) or is she still out on the sick?

See that? Anyone can do ad hominem...
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