Book Launch of “Own Our Oil – The Fight for Irish Economic Freedom” – Today at the Royal Dublin Society

Launch of Own Our Oil, from

OOOFinalI am pleased to announce that the book, Own Our Oil: The Fight for Irish Economic Freedom, published by Liberties Press, Dublin, was launched today at the Royal Dublin Society (RDS). The book is edited by economist, Eddie Hobbs, on behalf of the Irish NGO of the same name – Own Our Oil.

The book contains a chapter I was invited to contribute, entitled, ‘Resource Nationalism and the Public Trust Doctrine: A Constitutional Solution to Ireland’s Inequitable Oil and Gas Regime’.  An summarised copy of the book is now available for download from Own Our Oil – and the full version of the book can also be downloaded for free from Trinity College Dublin. The following is the description, from the Liberties Press web site:

Own Our Oil: The Fight for Irish Economic Freedom is an anthology of essays that packs a punch. The team of multidisciplinary writers led by Eddie Hobbs describe how Ireland’s leaders have, over several decades, built a system that has been excessively generous to the oil and gas industry abroad. To remedy this, Hobbs and his team propose a new approach to regulate and tax this lucrative industry, so that Ireland can benefit from Irish resources.

Seeking to emulate the Norwegian model of resource management, the book shows how we, as Irish citizens, can become empowered and regain control of our natural resources, demand a fair share of the profits and wisely allocate our gains. Own Our Oil: The Fight for Economic Freedom offers readers information on the latest developments in the international oil and gas arena and the potential economic upside of Ireland changing course and ‘getting it right’. This book is armed with a strong message,

When the herd stands together, the lion lies down hungry! Buy this book, sign it, pass it on!

 On Sunday, 9 November, Eddie Hobbs quoted from my chapter in his column in the Sunday Business Post – calling for a referendum on all natural resources, including water:

“The fundamental issue is Article 10 of the 1937 Constitution which alienates the Irish people from their natural resources and places ownership in the hands of the state. What is needed is a constitutional amendment that embeds public ownership of natural resources and that no longer prevents citizens from taking court action when the state, acting as trustee, behaves against the interests of the people.

The Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court, Andrew Kirkpatrick, summed it up as a basic human right in 1821: “The sovereign power itself, therefore, cannot, consistently with the principles of the law of nature and the constitution of a well ordered society, make an absolute grant of the waters of the state, divesting all the citizens of their common right. It would be a grievance which never could be long bourne by a free people.”


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Evening Herald: Tomb discovery sparks ‘national monument’ calls


Tomb discovery sparks ‘national monument’ calls

The Evening Herald | 10 September 2013

ARCHAEOLOGISTS who discovered a new passage tomb near Newgrange want it declared a national monument. Using light detection and ranging imaging known as LiDAR, an underground passageway and several other previously detected features have been discovered near the river Boyne, Co. Meath, on private land southwest of Newgrange. The LiDAR imagery showed a mound with a circular enclosure, with further work involving new technologies, known as magnetic radiometry and resisitivity, unveiled a definite passage, leading northeast out of the tomb.

It is the first discovery to be made without any archaeological digging, instead being found through use of LiDAR and “other ground-probing techniques.” The archaeologists who made the discovery, led by Kevin barton, are calling on the Minister for Heritage, Jimmy Deenihan, to declare the site a national monument. Because the new monument is on private land, the team of archaeologists need the Minister to do this as without Government designations, an excavation would be impossible. In order to fully understand the results of the LiDAR study, which was performed in and around the Bru na Boinne UNESCO Heritage site, archaeologists feel a fully comprehensive excavation would be necessary.

Activist group ‘Save Newgrange‘ are backing the request to the minister as well as requesting that Meath County Council include the findings in the Management Pan for the World Heritage Site. Vincent Salafia, spokesperson with Save Newgrange says that there is an obligation to allow the excavation of the site, as well as a council obligation to include findings in the management plan.

“With this exciting discovery, the onus is on the Minister to obey the UNESCO World Heritage Convention and fully protect the site. The State is under a duty to fully investigate the entire World Heritage Site, and to give the monuments the highest legal protection possible, which is national monument designation under the National Monuments Act,” he said.

The results of a full scale excavation could lead to an expansion of Newgrange and could halt any further plans for the N2 bypass of the site, which would be critical if there were more request from local council to build the motorway. In 2012, An Bord Pleanala refused an application for the bypass because of the proximity to to the monument. Local politicians, however, are still hoping to procure a bypass rather than the current HGV ban that is in place.

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Meath Chronicle: ‘Tara Watch group pays tribute to poet Heaney’ & other interesting stories


I0000.JDZUwHOOYAThe Meath Chronicle has a number of interesting items relating to the Hill of Tara and the M3 motorway, this week, as well as other reports on significant new archaeological discoveries at Brú na Bóinne, UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the Hill of Loyd, which lies near Kells, at the northern end of the M3 motorway. Most surprisingly, it features an editorial by the conservative Paul Murphy, that basically admits that Seamus Heaney was right, and the M3 that is now a ‘white elephant’ and was not worth ‘desecrating’ Tara for.

LP2-LiDAR-colourMoving through the paper there is ‘Ground radar uncovers a new monument close to Newgrange’ on page 2.  It states “the first passage-tomb to be discovered in the Boyne Valley in 200 years has been identified by archaeologists using the new sophisticated imaging techniques.” It relates to a new ‘passage-tomb’ that lies on the flood plain of the Boyne, southwest of Newgrange.

LP2-Location-map-Lidar Mythical Ireland does a good story on the find, near Newgrange. This is very relevant to efforts to protect the complex from the Slane bypass, which is still under consideration. (The image above, from their site shows a close-up of it, and the image to the right shows its location, with the red circle. Clearly the extent of the complex has yet to be finally determined, adding more evidence against arguments in favour of a dual carriageway, 500 metres from the UNESCO buffer zone.)

mound-of-hostages-under-constructionNext on page 4, ‘Conservation of Tara’s Mound of the Hostages now completed’, says that the Office of Public Works has confirmed that the protective railings will be removed from around the Mound of the Hostages, as conservation work is completed.  The tragic/comic aspect to the story, however, is that it features a picture of Cllr. Shane Cassells of Fianna Fail, standing in front of the monument and being quoted from 2012 when he “warned that the ‘rawness’ of Tara would be lost if people were kept away from the Hill itself and that it would lead to an ‘Americanising’ of the monument if a series of viewing platforms were erected from which people could view it.” This is the same Councillor that argued in favour of the M3 (American style) motorway along the side of the Hill of Tara in 2005, and voted to rezone land, in material contravention of the Meath County Development Plan, in Batterstown, very close to Tara, in 2009. The image to the left shows the reconstruction under way in 2012.

kellsNext on page 11 Major Iron Age fort found at Hill of Loyd says: “A circular fort 100 metres in diameter on the top of the Hill of Loyd, which would have dominated the skyline of ancient Kells, has been discovered by archaeologists from the Discovery Programme – Iron Age and Roman Project. Archaeologist Dr Ger Dowling said the site would have been a significant structure from 1,000 B.C. to 500 A.D. Dr. Dowling said “people at the site would have been people coming from the north and west to Bregga – the Tara complex.” It is very significant that he referred to the Tara complex, as this was the core argument of opponents to the M3, while many archaeologists tried to limit the monument to the top of the hill itself. He also said “that when works were taking place on the M3 bypass a number of burial monuments were also found,” which “indicated that something must have been happening on the top” of the Hill of Loyd, “and this is where we found this enclosure.” The tower image above is present day Hill of Loyd, Kells, where a ‘heritage park‘ is now proposed.

headergDespite the obvious relationship between both the Hill of Tara and Hill of Loyd enclosures with the surrounding burials, the archaeologists saw, and still see, no problem with building the M3 and the bypass in the midst of these archaeological  ‘complexes’. Instead, there are the 2003 and other excavation reports of “no archaeological significance” relating to these and dozens of other burials within the two complexes that were bulldozed and desecrated.

On page 12 there is a story ‘Tara Watch group pays tribute to poet Heaney’, (below) and and Editorial on page 22, entitled ‘Elements of the human condition laid bare for all to see‘, (also below) discussing Heaney’s intervention in to the Tara/M3 controversy, by Paul Murphy. He quotes me as saying “How could we be wrong when Seamus said we were right?” Surprisingly, he then says, “I remain to be convinced that the motorway is not an expensive white elephant and that it will take another ‘boom’ to get the burden of payment for these 60-odd kilometres off the taxpayers’ back.”

DSCF1725He contrasts the death of Seamus Heaney with other headlines of the week. “There is a further sharp division in human dilemmas posed for other people in the headlines. To make it clear form the beginning, solicitor Michael Lynn is a fugitive from justice in Ireland. Former Government Minister Ivan Yates and current Minister of State John perry are not fugitives from justice but collateral damage from the aforesaid ‘boom’. (The image on the right shows Seamus on the Hill of Tara in 2008, before a reading there.) Ironically, I passed Ivan the other day, who walking into the Dart railway station on Pearse Street, while talking to someone on his mobile phone about losing his home. He gave me a knowing, forlorn nod and I couldn’t help but feel sorry for him. We are, after all, still just human.

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