Independent Media Centre Ireland

Multi Billion gas/oil rippoff. The Dunquinn fields

category kerry | miscellaneous | news report author Monday December 04, 2006 23:51author by david grey - Green Party- Kerryauthor email davidgrey at greenparty dot ie

Irish resources given to "business buddies"

The present government has given away billions possibly trillions of Euro of gas/oil reserves which could have benefited the Irish public coffers.I will refer to the reserves given away to Businessman Tony O'Reilly off the coast of Kerry.

The Dunquinn gas and oil reserves in the north and south Dunquinn fields in the Porcupine basin (125 miles off the Kerry coast) contain according to Tony O’Reilly’s providence resources approximately 4 billiion barrels of oil and 25 trillion cubic ft of natural gas, this has a market value in my estimation of in excess of €250 Billion.

Bearing in mind that the government gave this away for €1 to Tony O’Reilly’s Providence resources leaves us with a lot of unanswered questions.
The government maintain that they have no expertise at deep well drilling and exploration, yet they gave the rights to a company who had to seek assistance from Exxon Mobil and Sosina in order to realise the massive potential of these fields, in fact Tony O’Reilly’s Providence now have a 16% stake in all profits from these fields while Exxon Mobil take all the risks, a good return on a €1 stake while providence can sit back and count the profits when the fields are up and going! Providence have put the costs of setting up a platform and commencement of drilling at €50 million, small change when the potential profits are taken into consideration.

Bearing this in mind it is mind boggling to me why the government does not hold onto these resources, they are being given away willy nilly all over our coast, the government say they don’t have the expertise, yet when Norway found similar resources they set up a state oil company (Statoil), which is pumping billions into the state coffers, imagine how a fraction of the profits of just one of our nations oil/gas fields could be put to use in hospital services, education, social services, transport etc. very little will flow into Irish coffers from the exploitation by Exxon Mobil.

With peak oil expected to be from 5 to 15 years away it is my opinion that the government should have held ALL of our resources in state ownership until then, deep sea drilling technology is improving year by year, the government could well have secured our nations financial future by refraining from a giveaway to Media Moguls and multi nationals.

When the cost of these “giveaways” is counted I believe it will be a multi billion euro slap in the face to the Irish people, indeed the miss management of our economy with billions already wasted in over spends, computer voting and downright incompetence needs to be highlighted also.

To conclude I would like to commend the work of the shell to sea campaign, the disrespectful way people are being treated in Mayo is only the start, if we let the current government and multi nationals trample over the rights of local people to live a quiet, safe and productive life, we cannot allow the state to be used as a battering ram for big business, with the law abiding public at risk of being at the wrong end of a Garda baton, simply for peacefully standing up for their rights!

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author by sean moraghan - Kerry Shell To Sea Group etcpublication date Tue Dec 05, 2006 00:05author address author phone

The conflict in Mayo between Shell and the local community may seem to some people to be a local matter that is of little concern to communities in Kerry or the nation as a whole.
Nothing could be further from the truth. While the huge gas find in Mayo is being exploited by Shell and others, another big field of oil and gas off the coast of Kerry is to be tapped by Exxon Mobil and others. The same questionable financial and legal basis of the deal governing the extraction of oil and gas in Mayo applies at the Dunquin field, which lies 200 miles off Kerry.
The Irish government has given all of the oil and gas off Kerry to the Exxon group, and the state will not make any money from the company’s sale of these resources on the open market. Exxon, like Shell, will not pay us any royalties on each unit of production, and they will only pay a small amount of tax, if any, on their profits. So the Irish economy will gain little from the Kerry finds, and we will all have to pay for our oil and gas at the international market rate.
The origins of the poor financial basis of the deals in Mayo, Kerry and those still to be made elsewhere lies with infamous politician Ray Burke. In 1987, against the advice of his own department, he abandoned the 50% public ownership in finds of our oil and gas, and removed the 6% royalties on production. In 1982, after further lobbying by companies Bobby Molloy reduced their tax rate to 25% while 100% tax write-offs were introduced. Corporation tax now rests at only 12.5%. Subsequently some exploration companies took part in major fundraising events for Fianna Fail. The law was changed to give such companies the power to issue compulsory purchase orders against Irish citizens. If Shell in Mayo can force people to sell their land or even their homes there is no reason to believe that other companies cannot do the same in Kerry or elsewhere. The men known as the Rossport Five refused to let Shell onto their lands and were sent to prison. While they were imprisoned Minister Noel Dempsey signed more deals to give away oil and gas exploration rights for sites off the Sligo, Erris and Donegal coastline.
The Dunquin site is worth over E20 billion. The global price of increasingly scarce resources like oil and gas is growing all the time, but this wont be any comfort to us, as we will not be gaining in revenues but instead only paying more for our own resources. The gas would cost us the same as if we were importing it from Russia. Not only that but we may even be looking at a scenario where the crude oil from the Kerry site, if processed at sea, might be piped into tankers and shipped off to the US or Britain, thus making no contribution to the Irish economy. Furthermore,it is unlikely that Irish rig workers would be employed because oil companies here don’t have a record of employing Irish workers.
There is a lot of nonsense talked about the ‘benefits’ of the Mayo find. No-one who understands the dodgy history behind it can be in any doubt that any ‘benefits’ have been squandered and reduced to ridiculous proportions. Norway, for example, gets a 78% tax take from companies’ profits from its national resources, and it has used those revenues to fund health, education and infrastructure. Our deals mean we will get nothing like that scale of benefits.
There is also a lot of propaganda surrounding the Mayo community who are protesting the nature of the deal and the environmental and health risks to themselves. They have variously been ridiculed as Provos and Luddites, and mocked for the religious elements of some of their pickets. Profiles of their campaign have been written not by journalists who write on industrial or environmental matters but by crime reporters. But where does the ‘crime’ really lie?
Some of the most furious screeching against the Mayo community has been done by the Sunday Independent. While generally recognised as a kind of external publication for the government parties and a press office for their various policies, the hysteria of their campaign against the Mayo protestors is intense. Tony O’Reilly, who owns the Independent group of newspapers also holds a 7.25% stake in the Dunquin deal. If the Mayo community wins and forces a renegotiation of Shell’s oil and gas deal that would be seen as a threat to the Kerry operation.
Beyond this there lies a curious ocean of silence from the media and from most public representatives. Mayo politicians Pat Rabbitte and particularly Enda Kenny have said little substantive and nothing supportive throughout this controversy. There is no debate.
In Nigeria, when the Ogoni people tried to defend their lands from the environmental pollution caused by Shell their leadership was accused of treason, and tried and executed. In Ireland the Shell-to-Sea campaign is ridiculed, and protesters in Mayo are baton charged by police.
The Mayo Shell-to-Sea campaign summarised the situation: ‘The reality is that Shell’s project does not have the consent of the people directly affected by it. Almost no benefits other than short-term construction jobs will arise from this project to our community and the people of Mayo. The fiscal terms governing the project ensure no benefits whatsoever will accrue to the people of Ireland.’ That scenario applies equally well to Kerry’s offshore resources and should encourage us to look more closely at the plight of the Mayo community.

author by david grey - Green Party- Kerrypublication date Tue Dec 05, 2006 00:31author email davidgrey at greenparty dot ieauthor address author phone

Hi Sean,
very good article, however if you go to providence resources official website you will see that the oil reserves they estimate alone is 4 billion barrels of oil, at even a low oil price of €50 per barrel this would come to €200 billion.
so my estimation of €250 billion is quite conservative, bearing in mind that by the time this field goes into production the figures could be nearly double this!
if all the giveway fieds off our coast are included i believe this figure would go to Trillions of Euro!
all the best, Dave

author by Realitypublication date Tue Dec 05, 2006 09:14author address author phone

The rubbish posted here is so dire I just have to put the record straight. The facts are:

1. There is no oil or gas field at Dunquin or anywhere else off the Kerry coast. There is merely an exploration prospect which still requires a great deal of investment before even drilling an exploration well can be justified; if that well is drilled, it will cost around €50 million and has probably less than a 10% chance of doscovering oil or gas in commercial quantities.

2. The tax rate on oil and gas production is 25%. This means that the state will receive exactly 25% of the profit from any oil or gas produced offshore, this is true for Corrib or any other future discovery.

Those are the facts.

author by no idearpublication date Tue Dec 05, 2006 11:43author address author phone

The Dunquinn gas and oil reserves in the north and south Dunquinn fields in the Porcupine basin (125 miles off the Kerry coast) contain according to Tony O’Reilly’s providence resources approximately 4 billiion barrels of oil and 25 trillion cubic ft of natural gas, this has a market value in my estimation of in excess of €250 Billion.

On that basis providence resourches is the most undervalued stock on this earth as is exxon mobil

give over with your BS, this sort of crap harms actual campaigns as it is nothing more than scaremongering which is blatently obvious to say the lease

author by Master of perception.publication date Tue Dec 05, 2006 11:47author address author phone

Because Tony O'Reilly maintains there is gas there. He also says he was allowed to pick whichever blocks he wanted because he owns thirty percent of the media in the country. And as for the twenty-five percent tax. How many times do you have to be told- Expenses will be written off against tax.

author by oilmanpublication date Tue Dec 05, 2006 11:50author address author phone

trying to compare Norway and Ireland is just plain ridicoulous, Norways coast is crammed with oil

Irelands is sparse to say the least an average i believe of 30:1 in Norwaays favour, so if the Irish government were to control exploration they would spend about 10billion and get an average return of 1billion based on the number of spud-- useless wells they would drill

do you think an irish government would explain this to the pulic?

well 10bill not on health but we ehhh are drilling holes in the ocean looking for oil for which we believe for every 200 spuds we drill we will strike oil/gas on an average of a single spud

better off putting it all on red in the local casino

author by Realitypublication date Tue Dec 05, 2006 12:01author address author phone

I will say it one more time. The facts are:

1. There is no oil or gas field at Dunquin or anywhere else off the Kerry coast. There is merely an exploration prospect which still requires a great deal of investment before even drilling an exploration well can be justified; if that well is drilled, it will cost around €50 million and has probably less than a 10% chance of discovering oil or gas in commercial quantities. It is not uncommon for the owners of petroleum licences around the world to talk up their value to please their shareholders; clearly Tony O'Reilly is no exception but he is only talking about potential, NO OIL OR AGS HAS BEEN FOUND.

2. The tax rate on oil and gas production is 25%. This means that the state will receive exactly 25% of the profit from any oil or gas produced offshore, this is true for Corrib or any other future discovery. Of course expenses are deductible, taxes everywhere are always paid on profits.

author by JFHpublication date Tue Dec 05, 2006 12:59author address author phone

The bottom line is that the Government etc do not appear to have a clue on the true cost of an exploration rig, See
The Russians are getting rid of the Multi National Oil companies because they say that the Multi Nationals keep pumping up the exploration costs, The Russians had a somewhat similar agreement as Ireland has that the big exploration companies could firstly offset their costs before Russia got anything. The Russians now are saying that they will end up getting no return from their resources because of the Oil companies’ practice of inflating their costs each year. So, the oil companies have got the boot!

The Irish Government are presiding over a situation where Irish Citizens are ploughing billions of euro into property schemes in Europe. The Irish are the only people investing in Europe to such a degree. What is blinding the Irish Government to allow this situation? Only a very small percentage of this investment will make a profit. Multi National companies are closing down company’s everyday because of the falling youthful purchasing demand following on a 45 year birthrate collapse. Europe is an old society to be ripped off by Multi National Oil players, plus the Russians and ironically by the Norwegians. Capitalism requires growth; Europe is dying; but rich. Terrorism has little to do with religion despite all the propaganda we are being swamped with from Bush etc. Capitalism is dying in Europe; the USA will shortly pull their army out. The only nation in Europe that can send its young men to war is we. Watch out for moves to increase our army numbers and see them dispatch to all corners of the globe!

The uselessness of the Government’s policy on hydrocarbon resources is being continually exposed. The latest criticism comes, surprisingly from the pen of Fergus Cahill, chairman of the Irish Offshore Operators' Association in an article “Exploring offshore must be rewarded” on 24th November in the Irish Times. He states that “crucially, in order to encourage continued exploration, the Norwegian government refunds around 78 per cent of the costs of unsuccessful exploration”. This is balanced by a government take in the region of 78 per cent.

The carrot of offering favourable tax advantages to a Multi National Oil and Gas company is no use! “That particular Donkey is well fed and well worked elsewhere and has little reaction to such inducements” quote taken from the Mayo Association Yearbook 2003. Ninety per cent of oil gas exploration throughout the world is led by indigenous and government controlled oil/gas operating and finance companies. It is time that the Irish took the ‘bit between its teeth’, invest, lead and bring in the multi nationals as equal partners. In that way, it can insure that confrontational incidences like what is happening in Mayo will never happen and also insure that our pristine environment is protected.

Most private oil companies can only afford to sink one or two wells. This country now has the resources to exploit our hydrocarbons. What are the benefits? Well look at how people who are pro Putin fare out:

“Recent contracts with Belarus - one of Russia's closest allies - specify a price of $47, and deals with Armenia and Georgia are for around $110.
The Baltic States are also paying $110, but have agreed to a price rise in the future.
The average charge in the EU is $240.
In November 2005 Gazprom proposed charging Ukraine $160 per thousand cubic metres. The following month it abruptly raised the price to $220-230.” Quote taken from the BBC at All the prices quoted are per 1000 cubic meters of gas.

The so called market price is what Putin says it is and the Elderly EU can only huff and puff! The Exxons, the Shells just hop on his coat tails. Who are the guardians of the Irish Natural Resources?

author by Johnpublication date Tue Dec 05, 2006 15:36author address author phone

Do you know how many oil exploration wells have been drilled in Irish waters since the 1960s?

Answer: over 200

Do you know how many discovered commercial quantities of oil?

Answer: none

author by JFHpublication date Tue Dec 05, 2006 16:32author address author phone

John, where in heaven’s name did you get over 200 exploration wells drilled in Irish waters? It would not surprise me though. The Irish Government are only aware of 121, see below.

• No Irish employed on Exploration rigs since the 1970s. Note these are rigs that operated in Irish waters
• Every State has asked for an increase take from Oil/Gas profits once the Multi-Nationals have started pumping oil or gas. See statement Paolo Scaroni, the current Chief Executive of ENI
• Why should Multi National take all the risk in such a scenario?
• Over 90% of all oil gas production is substantially financed by State owned companies worldwide. The Oil Gas companies lend their expertise.
• Oil companies would need to be very hard up to let the Irish Government know off successful oil strikes.
• Many other rigs were sunk by companies whose resources are not as plentiful as governments. So they work for other governments who put up finance or sent old rigs to Ireland that do not go down deep enough.
• Not so long ago, we were told that there are no hydrocarbon resources off our shores: told this in the 70s by reputable oil gas consultants!
• Since offshore drilling started in 1971. 121 exploration wells have been drilled yielding 4 commercial discoveries (Kinsale Head Gas Field (KHGF) in 1971, Ballycotton in 1996, Corrib in 1996 and Seven Heads (company has since ran out of money) which was declared commercial in 2003 i.e. about one find for every 30 wells drilled.
• Drip, drip, drip drip! What is the cop-on threshold of the people of Ireland?

author by gigglepublication date Tue Dec 05, 2006 17:19author address author phone

The Seven Heads proved to be only marginally commercial and lead to the loss of +90% of the value of its operator, Ramco. Dont think you can count that one as a success.

author by Davepublication date Tue Dec 05, 2006 19:21author address author phone

"The Dunquinn gas and oil reserves in the north and south Dunquinn fields in the Porcupine basin (125 miles off the Kerry coast) contain according to Tony O’Reilly’s providence resources approximately 4 billiion barrels of oil and 25 trillion cubic ft of natural gas, this has a market value in my estimation of in excess of €250 Billion."

What rot!

Providence Resources shares are about 8c each at the moment - that values the whole company at about 150 million euro (including the gold reserves it has in Africa).

If the Dunquin fields are really worth 250 billion then perhaps it's worth a punt!

And to to correspondent who mentions the 25% "after expenses" that the state gets... well the state would only get 100% "after expenses". Expenses are very very likely to be higher than the return. On the offchance (estimated by Providence at 10-15% but probably closer to 2-3%) that they strike then the shareholders do very well. If they don't then they get nothing.

It's a gamble, nothing more. A gamble that the Irish State is choosing not to take, but to "hedge" by selling for the price of 25% of net profits.

author by David Grey - Green Party- Kerrypublication date Wed Dec 06, 2006 00:37author address author phone

I agree that the government has spent millions in the past drilling over 100 dry holes
However if you read my article instead of spewing out right wing oil company propoganda, you might well see the logic in not giving away our reserves!
Are we to believe that the oil companies such as Exxon mobil, shell and providence resources are doing us a favour by taking our terribly resourced oil/gas fields off our hands??...poppycock!
do you honestly think their shareholders would agree with drilling holes willy nilly unless their was a high chance of a very profitable return??
What planet are you living on? are we to believe that all multi nationals are really run like charities at a huge expense to themselves, i dont think so! they are concerned with one thing only PROFIT!, not the environment, nor the rights of irish citizens. Do they care how many people are put to death in their name in the Niger Delta- NO!

If we are to all agree that technology is advancing all the time, then is it not the case that the technology of both finding these reserves and drilling for them is also advancing, in fact the United states are openly bragging that deep well oil fields in the Atlantic it considered too deep to drill 5 years ago are now possible and will be common place in 5 years time!

the technology used in the 70's ,during by en large fruitless exploration by the Irish government was crude (not a pun) to say the least!
that is why is it not logical, whatever your beliefs that it will be much easier to discover fields with real potential and recover those resources in the future? you have to agree???

That is why we should have held on to our oil and gas fields and the huge potential for the Irish exchequer in the future, furthermore the figures I have quoted for reserves in the North & South Dunquinn fields are in fact slightly below the figures estimated on Providence Resources own website .
Norway may well have bigger reserves, but as a person that lived in Scandinavia for 2 years I can not imagine Norwegians standing by to a giveway similar to which the Irish government has overseen, is it no wonder that Norway has the best standard of living anywhere in the world? .
As soon as Norwegians become fully aware of the role of their state oil company, Staoil in the abuse of local rights and democracy by their alliance with shell in Mayo, Statoil will be forced to pull out, The oil workers union will see to that!


People before Multi National Greed!

People before Politicians!

Hold din kæft, jeg taler til dig!

author by david grey - Green Party- Kerrypublication date Wed Dec 06, 2006 00:54author address author phone

the following link contains information regarding the ever increasing technology used to find/drill deepwater oil fields.

Hold din kæft, jeg taler til dig!

author by Johnpublication date Wed Dec 06, 2006 10:26author address author phone

You say "is it no wonder that Norway has the best standard of living anywhere in the world?".

You are completely correct about Norway's standard of living. You got that from the recent UN Human Development Report, published in October I think. You omit to mention that the same report put Ireland fourth in the world for standard of living, up from forty-fifth in the early 90s. What's more, our economy and standard of living are increasing much faster than in Norway and, at present rates of growth, our standard of living will overtake Norway's by 2010 and be the highest in the world by 2012.

author by Miriam Cottonpublication date Wed Dec 06, 2006 13:07author address author phone

So, there are billions of euro sloshing around in Ireland. But what are we doing with it?

In Norway, the money is used for the benefit of the country. Whatever problems Norway may have, Norwegian infrastructure put's Ireland's to shame. It's a clean and well run country - a place where something other than ingorance and greed are driving the politicians who run it. It's childcare facilities are excellent as are its parental leave policies. Its hospitals are modern and efficient. Norwegian social welfare policies reflect a civilised approach to care for the elderly. In Ireland elderly people are still living and dying in horrific states of neglect . The Norwwegians are careful about their enviornment while in Ireland we dont even have waste collection facilities for much of the country - let alone proper recycling facilities. Instead, we invite Belgian and other companies over here to import and burn toxic filth ('thermal treatment' is the delicate expression for it) and to pollute our air and countryside - and who cares if people die each year because of it. A few guys get to make a lot of money out of it, businesses save money, so its worth the price that the rest of us (the majority) have to pay. We slap up cheaply constructed housing estates where people are crammed on top of each other without adequate amenities or recreational facilities for children - the only consideration being how much money the developlers can screw out of as little land as possible. And then we are invited to put the whole of our lives in hock to the banks and insurance companies in order to live in one of those depressing, inhumane estates. We have even legislated to protect the neglect of people with disability. We have a pathetic and dangerous road system - and we dont even bother to sign post it properly. A simple matter to rectify and yet a blinding advertisement for the same incompetence and lazy indifference that characterises almost all of our public administration. And we can also boast about endemic corruption in a country where even our Taoiseach accepts undeclared and unrepayed 'loans' and is eulogised by fawning newspaper columnists for it - some of whom are also on the gravy train themselveds, of course. A Minister for Finance with no bank account???? Really?????? (Incidentally, anyone following that last Bertie speech on the subject should listen carefully to the text again. He doesnt say that he was charged full market rate for the house at all. He refers a lot to 'full market rate' but does NOT confirm that he paid it. Its a bit like the way disability legislation is full of the word 'rights' without establishing a single right. The warm glow radiating from the term is projected onto what is said so as to tell you what you should infer. When will people ever get it about this guy!)

Ireland isnt a country anymore. It's merely a property resrouce whose management is weighted massively in favour of wealthy people - to the tune of billions of euro out of our taxes every year with negligible improvements to our community life. Dilapidated schools and hospitals everywhere. Delays, delays and more delays at every point of interface between state and community. The worst telephone service in Europe - staffed by people who have clearly been told that the first order of business is to avoid, at all costs, assisting customers with their difficulties and certainly not to have any direct conversation with them. Just give us your money and get lost seems to be their customer service ethos.

The only thing that has been achieved is the creation of a small corporate aristocracy, so arrogant and ruthless they are bragging about how other people are less important and should have less of a say in the way the country is run. And they are fixing the law to ensure that exact outcome. We exist only to service their greed and are now being physically attacked by the state where we peacefully oppose incursions onto our communities and environments. The icy wind of fascism is blowing hard in Ireland, heralded and trumpeted by the likes of the ever complacent and smug Mr John above - standing to attention and saluting its arrival with a starry-eyed gaze. Let us know if it eats you up and spits you out, too, John. You'll find some friends here if you ever come to your senses.

author by Johnpublication date Wed Dec 06, 2006 15:20author address author phone

Miriam. I'm so sad that they don't have whingeing in the Olympics, because you'd be a cast-iron certainty to bring home a Gold for Ireland when they next come around. Obviously you weren't included in that EU survey, reported in today's Irish Times, which showed that Irish people are the second happiest in the EU. But, I mustn't rub it in as today is probably an especially black day for you, what with Brian Cowen coming on tele in a few hours to deliver large tax cuts. I know how much the thought of tax cuts pains people like you, Miriam, and I feel for you on this black day. I really do. However, I have to say that some of your comparisons between Ireland and Norway don't stand up to critical analysis. Take education. According to you, Irish school-children go to over-crowded dilapidated schools, while Norwegian school-children are looked after in a caring well-run country, from which greed and ignorance have been banished. How, then,do you explain the fact that Irish school-children consistently out-perform Norwegian school-children in PISA tests? I hope that's not too tough a question for you to answer. Given your interest in education, I'm sure you are familiar with PISA tests, Miriam. They are carried out tri-annually by the OECD to measure the educational attainment of school-children in OECD countries. The last one was carried out in 2003 and gave the following results for the percentage of school-children scoring at the lowest level in reading, science and maths.

Reading: Ireland: 2.7% scoring at lowest level
Norway: 6.4% scoring at lowest level

Science: Ireland: 13.1% scoring at lowest level
Norway: 21.3% scoring at lowest level

Maths: Ireland: 10.7% scoring at lowest level
Norway: 11.5% scoring at lowest level

So, it looks like the Norwegian education system isn't quite as superior to Ireland's as you thought, Miriam.

As for health, may I refer you to an article by that well-known FF supporter, ex-Taoiseach Dr. Garret Fitzgerald writing in the Irish Times on Saturday 21 October last. He pointed out in his article that mortality rates in the past decade have fallen twice as fast in Ireland as in any other EU country and are now the fifth lowest (out of 25) in the EU, as against sixth highest (out of 25) a decade ago.

I don't want to sound too harsh on you, Miriam. I did read recently that the more beautiful a woman, the crazier is her politics. You must be a very beautiful woman indeed, Miriam.

author by Stuartpublication date Wed Dec 06, 2006 15:41author address author phone

As for health, may I refer you to an article by that well-known FF supporter, ex-Taoiseach Dr. Garret Fitzgerald writing in the Irish Times on Saturday 21 October last. He pointed out in his article that mortality rates in the past decade have fallen twice as fast in Ireland as in any other EU country and are now the fifth lowest (out of 25) in the EU, as against sixth highest (out of 25) a decade ago.

What selective tosh - Ireland's mortality rates are nowhere near the lowest in Europe, except by statistical sleight of hand. Having one of the fastest growing, youngest populations in Europe guarantees a low death rate in aggregate. Age specific death rates for men of all ages and women below 30 and over 60 are well above European averages, including the new entrant nations. Ireland has the sixth highest infant and neonatal mortality rates, a real indictment of mispent wealth.

author by john eilepublication date Wed Dec 06, 2006 16:17author address author phone

2nd happiest in Europe??

I think that Poll is more a reflection of the Irish psychosis of "puttin up and shuttin up" than an actual gauge of happiness. Those polled returning immediately to 'giving out' as soon as the pollsters back was turned.

It’s an Illusion John, one you have haphazardly fallen for. We are neither wealthy nor blissfully happy as you have fooled yourself into believing.
We are still considered the poor man of Europe by our visiting neighbours who shake their head at our woefully sub-standard infrastructure, our fractured crumbling health service and social services.
All that has happened is we have betters cars to get us no-where while we pray we don’t get sick and hand a child-minding service a huge chunk of our so called disposable in-come

Life on this rock has been transformed into a day long tail-chasing exercise becoming less and less family friendly at the behest of foreign nationals and property speculators

author by Davepublication date Wed Dec 06, 2006 17:42author address author phone

Perhaps the poll is meaningless John Eile... no reason to believe it or disbelieve it... but we must base our domestic view on something concrete.

You've given us some examples:

"We are still considered the poor man of Europe by our visiting neighbours who shake their head at our woefully sub-standard infrastructure, our fractured crumbling health service and social services."

I think you've been reading the mainstream media a bit too much! No doubt many visitors go away with negative perceptions of public transport and roads. Perhaps we should relax the planning laws for roads and build the M11 and M3 without tolerating minority dissenters?

"Fractured, Crumbling Health Service"

Our A&E service is ruined by drunks and drug abusers. Many, many hospital beds are taken up by members of families who don't want to look after their elderly and / or infirm relatives. Selfish bastards.

"All that has happened is we have betters cars to get us no-where"
And yet the vat, feul, and insurance costs are relatively very high... ? Maybe Irish people are obsessed by there cars. Dublin people want OTHER people to use public transport, but won't walk for 15 mins to a bus stop.

"while we pray we don’t get sick"
No change there!

"and hand a child-minding service a huge chunk of our so called disposable in-come"
I agree... madness. Why doesn't a parent look after their child? The majority of middle-income families with kids in childcare could afford to have a parent at home BUT CHOOSE NOT TO FOR LIFESTYLE REASONS... and by "afford" I mean have one car instead of two, have a smaller house. I have no sympathy for people who want to MAINTAIN their lifestyle after having kids (I do have huge sympathy for the minority who have to both work).

"Life on this rock has been transformed into a day long tail-chasing exercise"

I agree, but this is not imposed on us (in most cases).

"becoming less and less family friendly"

PEOPLE are less family friendly... government, pubs, coffee shops, tax is much more family friendly.

"at the behest of foreign nationals and property speculators"

I disagree. People walk themselves into this ridiculous lifestyle. The government should not support people because they make bad lifestyle decisions.

why add A&E beds? Give priority to sober people..

why keep elderly / infirm in hospital? Release them to the care of their relatives.

why reduce car tax or petrol cost? Feck the drivers. Take the cheap bus or dart. The more who use it, the better it gets! Luas commutes 20000 per day... so they are extending it.

why give childcare benefits to middle-incomers? Sell your '06 car, downsize your lifestyle. Choose your child over your holiday.

[[Apologies for the rant.]]

author by Johnpublication date Wed Dec 06, 2006 18:07author address author phone

I'm afraid you are totally wrong, Stuart. I was quoting Dr. Garret Fitzgerald, professional staistician and ex-leader of Fine Gael, not Fianna Fail. Whatever you think about his politics, you'd have to agree that Dr. Fitzgerald is (a) a man of unimpeachable integrity and (b) a first-class statistician, a hell of a lot better than you or I. In fact, that was his profession before he entered politics. Do you think someone with his statistical expertise would make such an elementary mistake as to confuse age-standardised mortality rates with crude mortality rates, which is what effectively you are accusing him of? Anyone with any knowledge of health statistics knows the difference, and health statistics has long been one of his specialities. You might as well claim that Michael O'Murchataigh doesn't know the difference between a goal and a point. You obviously haven't read his article. I have. I suggest you go and read it in the Irish Times website before you sound off. He specifically stated that he was referring to the age-standardised mortality rate. He didn't say it was the lowest in the EU, he said that by 2005 it had fallen to the fifth lowest in the EU. He also said most of the fall had occurred since 2000 and that since that date the fall in the (age-standardised) mortality rate in Ireland had been by far the highest in the EU. Now, he's an ex-Fine Gael leader. So, apart from not risking his reputation as a professional statistician, what motive would he have to make up something that would actually reduce the chances of his own party gaining in the next election? If you think he's wrong, I suggest you challenge him. Although, after reading his article, I checked the figures for 2005 for myself and he's absolutely correct.

author by John Eilepublication date Wed Dec 06, 2006 18:07author address author phone

Firstly, you have no idea of my circumstances. I cycle to work, I don’t own a car, my wife drives a 99 Punto as a necessity of her work. We both work to afford the ridiculously high rents in Dublin, we live where we live because of its proximity to our childcare facilities. Our relatives live miles away and are not an option for child care and in any case why should they be.

Neither of us smoke, I have a drink every other Friday night after work with my mates then go home before 10.

I cannot afford my own home,

I get feck all help from government because I am in that unfortunate pay bracket that I can afford nothing or equally qualify for nothing.
And have a holiday, are you having a laugh?

I was replying with regard the differences between Ireland and Norway and was commenting on a remark earlier in the thread about this delusion of happiness and how better off we are as a result of all this so called prosperity.

In this regard Norway it would seem has all the answers, but surely you will now ask me to make the biggest lifestyle choice of all and move there. Cheers!

author by John Eilepublication date Wed Dec 06, 2006 18:11author address author phone

By your account you seem to believe that all this mess is entirely all our own fault, surely you cant let the government off the hook like this?

author by Johnpublication date Wed Dec 06, 2006 18:21author address author phone

How typical of socialists like John eile! When the population say they're happy under a capitalist government, they react with fury and accuse that same population of being far too dumb to know whether they're happy or not. How elitist! If they say they're 'happy', then socialists like John eile interpret that as meaning they're really 'unhappy' but so mentally numbed by their unhappiness that they confuse it with happiness when speaking to pollsters.

author by CJDpublication date Wed Dec 06, 2006 19:12author address author phone

If the risk of not finding oil/gas is so high that we have to give the stuff away, why bother? Why not sit tight until the technology improves further. The pro-shell blogs on this website seem to be the only public expression of the government's thinking on these exploration deals. The policy has not been debated until now nor would it be unless the Shell to Sea campaign existed.

author by Stuartpublication date Wed Dec 06, 2006 19:32author address author phone

I was quoting Dr. Garret Fitzgerald, professional staistician and ex-leader of Fine Gael, not Fianna Fail. Whatever you think about his politics, you'd have to agree that Dr. Fitzgerald is (a) a man of unimpeachable integrity and (b) a first-class statistician, a hell of a lot better than you or I.

The Irish Times article was wrong, plain and simple - like comparing the death rate in a school with that in an old people's home.


author by david grey - kerry green partypublication date Wed Dec 06, 2006 19:55author address author phone

if i wasnt married with children, i would ask you to marry me!!
You have the type of logical insight into our economy and the downright poverty of our social services and infrastructure that most pretend isnt real.
Celtic Tiger my Arse! we have the highest debt per capita of any country in Europe, possibly the world.
We are living in an artificial bubble brought about by en large by the construction industry and immigration.
When this bubble busts what are we left with? we will not be much better off than we were in the 80's, at least you know that if you live in Scandinavia that whatever happens in the economy social services and infrastructure will be there at the same level, for fecks sake we dont even have a broadband infrastructure much better than a semi third world country.

If you told a Norwegian he couldnt get broadband in his village he would laugh, for a modern SUSTAINABLE economy ,infrastructure, in all its forms needs to be up to date, norway have an annual government surplus of 20%, in the tough times they have plenty in the bank to see them through without cutting back services for people with disabilities or the most vulrenable, this government dont even need to have a recession to do this, i know i work in the sector, after the 2002 election we got screwed!

The Irish surplus for next year is projected to be 1%, what use is that if a commodity price rise or interst rate hike, or property price collapse or pure government incompetence causes a recession??
We are a country being ran by crooks, lining their own pockets, jobs for the boys etc, in Norway a government Minister didnt pay a TV licence, or just pure forgot/didnt get round to it, she immediatly resigned in shame, if the same standards existed here there would only be a hanful of TD'S left in the Dail, with all the main parties being decimated!

I lived in Denmark and visited Norway and Sweden regulary, and i would put it to the knockers unless you have lived there you dont know what your talking about!they are light years ahead of us!

the oil /gas should have been sat on, for our childrens future, by then technology will make exploration and identifying potential reserves easy in comparison to today, as i said Shell, exxon mobil and providence are not charities, they care only for profit, our government has presided over a Multi Billion Euro giveway, time will prove this to be correct!


author by Johnpublication date Wed Dec 06, 2006 20:08author address author phone

Your diagram in no way shows that Dr. Garret Fitzgerald was wrong. In his article Dr. Fitzgerald specifically states that his figures are for 2005 and that most of the fall in Ireland has occurred since 2000.That's what he says. Go and read it, if you doubt me. If you put your glasses on, you'll see that in your diagram it clearly states at the top that its for 2001. He's way ahead of you, not surprising given he's a qualified health statistician. Are you? What qualifications have you in this field that enable you to say that such a distinguished health statistician is 'wrong, pure and simple'? Can you tell the difference between 2001 and 2005? They're 4 years apart. You're like someone trying to deny that Tyrone won the All-Ireland in 2005 by giving the result of the 2001 All-Ireland final. I seem to have hit a raw nerve here. Why is it bugging you so much that Ireland recorded such a dramatic fall in mortality between 2001 and 2005? I'd have thought you might be pleased. It means that, although it might not advance your political cause, you're now likely to live much longer than you thought an hour or so ago before I initiated this discussion. Its an ill-wind...

author by John Eilepublication date Wed Dec 06, 2006 22:13author address author phone

"How typical of socialists like John eile! When the population say they're happy under a capitalist government, they react with fury and accuse that same population of being far too dumb to know whether they're happy or not. How elitist! If they say they're 'happy', then socialists like John eile interpret that as meaning they're really 'unhappy' but so mentally numbed by their unhappiness that they confuse it with happiness when speaking to pollsters."

I am not the one under the illusions that polls are infallable. Gallop themselves admitted polls can be orchestrated to produce any result you want, its all about the question.

Even so, think about it, if a complete stranger walked up to you in the street with a clip -board and asked you 'How are you?' This being Ireland 99.99% of the reples received would invariably be, Grand!

And I see you countered with that old 'elitist' chestnut, next you'll be calling me bourgoise! That was funny, i nearly choked on my Pinot Noir whislt reading it...oh dear excuse the misspelling of "whilst" i shall have this stupid Polack typist flogged at once.

I interpreted nothing about the population as you stated, i simply questioned the ligitimacy of the poll, i dont think anyone is mentally numb, I havent reacted with fury, ferosciously typing responses with frothed mouth until the keyboard gives off toxic smoke.
But i believe Therapists have a term for such baseless accusations, its called projection.

author by wageslavepublication date Thu Dec 07, 2006 05:42author address author phone

Well here's a few reasons off the top of my head:
(1) pollution. Arsenic, heavy metals, gas. fish kills, bird kills, respiratory health problems (and medical costs), loss of tourism. And shell won't pay their share cleaning up the mess. You only have to look at their past record. It's called "externalising"

(2) incidental infrastructure and costs which will be downplayed. e.g. Roads, a long expensive pipeline to our power stations so we can pay exactly the same rate as our current infrastructure allows us to already, Gardai to enforce unreasonable corporate behaviour, A suspiciously large chunk of Cheap Coillte land for a refinery (which I suspect will not be just for corrib alone). - More externalising.

(3) Greenhouse gases. These will be vented from the gas terminal or rig. We will already be quietly paying a stealth tax of several hundred million for other industries who are not meeting kyoto levels. Methane is 21 times as potent as CO2 as a greenhouse gas. This will contribute to problem but shell will not contribute to carbon tax

We will be getting nothing much from this pathetic "deal" anyway so why incur pointless expenses and environmental headaches. Makes no sense. Just leave it there for now.

And anyway, mr right wing neo con john and oil company shill, Those nice oil company people are only doing us a favour getting it out of the ground aren't they so we really shouldn't bother such nice people unnecessarily when we don't actually have to.
Why not leave them to use their limited resources to help much less well off third world countries than us such as nigeria instead. Well we all know how that works out don't we john? Fancy living beside the niger delta and posting your shite to indymedia from there?. I hear the air is very good and the environment is pristine. Best standard of living in the world too. A real testament to the benefits big oil can bring to a country.

Incidentally I heard that even nigeria negotiated a better rate from shell than Ireland. Is that true? Wouldn't surprise me!

author by Johnpublication date Thu Dec 07, 2006 11:43author address author phone

Are you proposing that Irish people should not use natural gas at all to heat their homes? That might reduce the greenhouse gas effect you're so worried about but has the minor disadvantage that large numbers of them will freeze to death in winter. I don't think you'd be on to a winner there. Or, have I misunderstood and you are merely proposing that Irish people should use natural gas to heat their homes but should obtain it from some other location. In which case, the greenhouse gas effect on the planet will be exactly the same as obtaining the gas from Corrib.

author by Lab Ratpublication date Thu Dec 07, 2006 14:36author address author phone

Don't know what point that Irish Times opinion peice was making or how the one-off claims were calculated, but the latest (CSO) Irish life expectancy is below Euro average, Irish death rates are above and the Irish infant death rates are also above. Not that publishing figures actually "suddenly makes you live longer" like what Farmer John claims. John's mentality of picking the little baubles of regurgitated pap that suit his argument make him look a wee bit stoopid.

author by JFHpublication date Thu Dec 07, 2006 14:44author address author phone

Are the majority of the correspondence to this thread living in Cloud Cuckoo land and not able to comprehend future reality? Trying to be as concise as possible, here are the real statistics that the future economy of the EU and Ireland are being built on.

There were 77% more births per head of population in the EU25 in 1960 than in 2004. In Ireland the figure is 50% more in 1980 than in 2004.

Countries with the above scenarios will not be able to afford Social Welfare Payments. Norway will, because they have close to $200Bn in a national pension fund. How did they get this fund?

The same voices that tell us there is no future for the Irish economy from our Government’s exploration of Oil and Gas will soon be telling us that Pensions will have to be decreased. Defined Benefit schemes are already being attacked. State Pensions are being cut back in Italy!

The only solution for Ireland is to exploit our hydrocarbon resources and give our young men and women time to have babies instead of exploiting them for their last dollar!

I feel like a guy would feel if he was trying to get people to become aware and do something about what was happening in Magdalene Laundries in the 1950s and 60s. People just do not want to know. Unlike the immigrants into the USA, our immigrants come mainly from Eastern Europe, a people whose birth rates are already the lowest in the world. The solution for a proper balanced demographic and well off Ireland is in our own hands! The present situation is an embarrassment to any mature and thoughtful individual; sorry but maybe a little bit of religious compassion is also needed

author by Johnpublication date Thu Dec 07, 2006 15:39author address author phone

Lab Rat, if you don't understand how Dr. Fitzgerald did his calculations, I fail to see how you can say he's wrong. What he's saying is not very complicated and can be summarised as follows: (a) mortality rates used to be much higher in Ireland than in the rest of the EU (b) since 2000 they've fallen twice as fast in Ireland as in the rest of the EU and (c) as a result, by 2005 they had fallen to fifth lowest in the EU. Which part of that do you not understand? That's what he's saying, pure and simple, and either he's right or he's wrong. But, unless you produce your own figures for 2005 which show his figures for 2005 are wrong, then you're in no position to say he's wrong. Its no good you or Stuart producing figures for 2001 or 2002 to 'show' he's wrong because he hasn't claimed mortality rates in Ireland were among the lowest in the EU in those years. Go get figures for 2005 and then come back and post them here and we can see whether or not Dr. Fitzgerald was correct.

JFH makes some good points and I agree with a lot of what he says. But, his points apply much more to the moribund continental EU countries than to Ireland although, if the liberal left continue to get their way, they will apply to Ireland sooner or later. But, as of 2005 Ireland was in a much better position than continental EU countries regarding demographic trends. For example, in most continental EU countries the number of deaths is about the same as the number of births. As JFH indicates, in eastern Europe the situation is even worse and in many of those countries the birth rate is so low that its far exceeded by the number of deaths. In those countries there is a catastrophic demographic spiral of falling birth rates and rising death rates developing and their populations are falling sharply even without the massive emigration to countries like Ireland that they're experiencing. Even in Germany and some other western EU countries the number of births is now less than the number of deaths and their populations are also falling. In contrast, in Ireland in 2005 the number of births was 61,000 and the number of deaths was 27,000. We have by far the largest gap between number of births and number of deaths of any EU country. The birth rate in Ireland did fall sharply between 1980 and 1995, from about 72,000 births to about 49,000 but its risen sharply since 1995 to 61,000 last year. We have the unique combination of having the highest birth rate in the EU and lowest (crude) death rate in the EU. Our social policies should be designed to ensure that that continues so we don't go the same way as the continental EU countries.

author by JFHpublication date Thu Dec 07, 2006 16:52author address author phone

John says that Ireland’s birth rate is higher than in Europe; this is like saying that Mayo in 1845 had the lowest incidence of potato famine. As it is we have the fastest falling birth rate in the world since 1980. If you understand the future repercussion of my figures; you will realise how pathetic our political establisment is. Talk about the euphoria with Cowen’s budget – Jesus helps us!

author by Johnpublication date Thu Dec 07, 2006 17:49author address author phone

JFH, I obviously over-estimated your intelligence in my previous post. Apologies. If you are going to get yourself in a lather over a shortage of babies in Ireland, you must be a very neurotic person because, while Ireland may have any number of other problems, as do all countries, lack of babies is not one of them. Yes, its true our birth rate has fallen since 1980, but only from 2 times the European average to 1.5 times the European average. That fall ended around 1995 and our birth rate has risen sharply again since then. In addition, our natural increase rate (birth rate minus death rate) is 8 times the EU average. What more do you want? Each woman producing 16 children? This site doesn't half attract some neurotic people and, if JFH is anything to go by, then not all of them are on the Left. Digest the following figures, JFH, and then maybe you'll calm down.

birth rates in European countries:

Ireland 15.3
France 12.6
Norway 12.4
U. Kingdom 11.9
Denmark 11.8
Netherlands 11.6
Luxembourg 11.5
Belgium 11.4
Finland 11.0
Cyprus 10.9
Spain 10.9
Estonia 10.6
Portugal 10.5
Sweden 10.4
Romania 10.2
Czech Rep 10.0
Slovak Republic 10.0
Italy 9.9
Malta 9.9
Switzerland 9.6
Hungary 9.6
Austria 9.4
Poland 9.4
Greece 9.4
Croatia 9.4
Latvia 9.3
Bulgaria 9.0
Lithuania 8.9
Slovenia 8.8
Germany 8.4

natural increase rate (birth rate minus death rate) in EU countries (- indicates death rate higher than birth rate:

Ireland +8.8
Cyprus +4.1
Luxembourg +3.9
France +3.7
Norway +3.7
Netherlands +3.1
Malta +2.7
Spain +2.1
U. Kingdom +2.0
Finland +1.8
Denmark +1.6
Belgium +1.4
Switzerland +1.3
Portugal +0.8
Sweden +0.5
Austria +0.4
Greece +0.2
Slovak Rep +0.2
Poland -0.3
Slovenia -0.5
Czech Rep -0.5
Italy -0.5
Germany -1.7
Croatia -1.7
Romania -2.1
Estonia -2.5
Hungary -3.9
Lithuania -4.0
Latvia -4.9
Bulgaria -5.6

author by Markpublication date Thu Dec 07, 2006 18:47author address author phone

John please provide a link to back up your figures. The figures for Ireland that I have are 15.1 and not 15.3 you could be pulling those statistics from thin air for all we know

author by JFHpublication date Thu Dec 07, 2006 19:38author address author phone

John! I don’t understand your list of countries. But you can take it as truth that the lowest birth rates are associated with those countries where short term economic goals outweigh long term social ones. Or low birth rates are associated with those countries where religious influence has waned or appear high on the Economic Freedom Index.

The detailed tables of Population Statistics 2006 Edition can be down loaded from the Eurostat website. The following quote is taken from same. “Since 1980, the total fertility rates in the EU-25 countries have clearly converged (Figure D-3). In 1980, the difference between the highest (Ireland) and lowest (Luxembourg) amounted to 1.8. In 2004, this difference, between Ireland and Slovenia, is down to 0.8. It is remarkable that in five countries (Denmark, Finland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Sweden) the 2004 total fertility rate is higher than the 1980 fertility rate. On the other hand, this rate decreased by more than 40% in the Czech Republic, Greece. Poland, Slovenia, and the Slovak Republic. In Absolute terms, the fall of total fertility rate was largest in Ireland.”

The birth rate is continually falling in Ireland when you judge it against the total Population numbers. In 1980 you had a population of 3,392,800 and 74,100 births. In 2004 you had 4,027,700 with 61,700 births. Do your sums on these figures and you get the stats quoted in a previous submission of mime, up the page. You will need exponentially more immigrants every year just to keep an adequate working population.

This immigration strategy gives the lie to the reason for a low birth rate i.e. a world that is over populated. They are inviting the world’s population to this small isle; what is the sense in that? ‘Irish could be minority ethnic group here by 2050’ a heading in the Irish Times 19th March 2005 and quoting Prof von Prondzynski, DCU President. The balance of power will have shifted from the Irish many years before that. The time will be too short for any immigrants to fully assimilate into the Irish ways. The Plantation of Ulster, the source of so much discontent, will pale into insignificance. The indigenous Irish race will become a footnote in history and an explosive cocktail will rapidly take its place! The rest of the EU and its Christian heritage are to a lesser extent near this point.

NOW would it not be wise for our Government to pour money into exploiting our hydrocarbon resources and enable our existing indigenous and immigrant young people to multiply?

author by Johnpublication date Thu Dec 07, 2006 20:05author address author phone

Greetings Mark - I've taken them from the actual printed publication, which is called:

Statistics in Focus
First demographic estimates for 2005

and the figures I gave for all countries are in Table 1 of this publication.

I also found the above publication on the net by typing 'birth and death rates in EU' in my MSN search engine where it came up with the following 'link' as one of the items listed, which I then clicked on to find it - I'm not sure how I can put it in this post in a form that you can just simply click on here, but I'm sure I've given you enough info to find it

When you do find it, perhaps you'll confirm for all the sceptics here that the figures I gave are exactly as given in this Eurostat publication.

As to whether the actual birth rate figure for Ireland is 15.1 or 15.3? It definitely says 15.3 in the above publication. I just double checked. But, you could well be correct for all I know. It is after all called 'First demographic estimates for 2005' and I'm sure you don't need me to tell you that in the fields of demographics, health, economics etc first estimates are often revised slightly. But, what's your point in quibbling whether its 15.1 or 15.3? Its hardly important whether the actual figure is 15.1 or 15.3. A bit like arguing whether Ireland beat Australia 21-6 or 21-7 in the rugby last week or whether FF got 41.3% or 41.5% in the last election.

author by Johnpublication date Thu Dec 07, 2006 20:44author address author phone

JFH, I have no wish to argue with you as I agree with some points you make, although not others.
Also, I'm heading out, so this will be my final contribution tonight. But, briefly:

(1) I agree with you that the lowest birth rates are in countries where religious influence has waned. Good
point. That's why I'm in favour of trying to preserve some measure of religious influence in Ireland,
although maybe not as much as when I was young (long time ago).

(2) Its less clear that birth rates are lowest in countries which pursue economic freedom. Eastern European
countries had extremely low birth rates in the 70s and 80s, but they were not economically free. The
main factor in those countries then was the waning of religious influence. Also, birth rates are much
higher in the U. States that in most of Europe, yet the U. States is much more economically free
than most of Europe. It is also much more religious than most of Europe with church-going rates of
about 50 per cent, compared with about 10 per cent in Europe. So, of the two factors you mention as
causing a low birth rate, it looks like the waning of religious influence is much more important than
the economic freedom one.

(3) You are correct in saying that Ireland's birth rate has converged with Europe's since the 1960s. But,
'converged' doesn't mean that its now the same as Europe's - it just means the gap has narrowed.
There is no conflict between your statement that they've 'converged' and anything I said in my
previous post. In my previous post I said that Ireland's birth rate had fallen from about 2 times that
of Europe a generation ago to about 1.5 times that of Europe today. In broad terms, a generation
ago the birth rate in Ireland was around 20.0 and in Europe around 10.0. Today, its around 15.0
in Ireland and still around 10.0 in Europe. That's 'convergence' in the sense of the gap narrowing
but not in the sense of the gap disappearing. Demographically, we're still far better off than the rest
of Europe, as the figures I gave in previous post showed.

(4) Its not accurate to say that Ireland's birth rate is continually falling. Here are the actual figures for
Ireland's birth rate cut and pasted from the CSO website. As you can see, our birth rate was stable
between 1950 and 1980, at just over 20.0. Then, it fell sharply to about 15.0 by 1990, almost
certainly because that was the decade in which contraception was legalised in Ireland. In other
countries it was legalised in the 1950s and 1960s, hence they experienced their fall in birth rate
back then and there was no further fall for them in the 1980s. But, since 1990 Ireland's birth rate has
stabilised at around 15.0, i.e. its stabilised at a much higher rate than in other EU countries.

1950 21.4
1960 21.5
1970 21.8
1980 21.8
1990 15.1
1991 15.0
1992 14.4
1993 13.8
1994 13.5
1995 13.5
1996 14.0
1997 14.4
1998 14.6
1999 14.4
2000 14.5
2001 15.0
2002 15.4
2003 15.5
2004 15.3
2005 14.8

author by chrissiepublication date Thu Dec 07, 2006 21:05author address author phone

Get y'selves to Bellanaboy Co Mayo & see for yourselves how Irish people's environment, rights & freedoms are being torn up for the sake of gas & oil.
The shameful propaganda of Shell, Ahern, Dempsey & the Sindo & cynical jokes about 'culchies' just drive people into increasingly polarised positions, & bring us all deeper into the darkness.

author by Lab Ratpublication date Thu Dec 07, 2006 21:06author address author phone

When you do find it, perhaps you'll confirm for all the sceptics here that the figures I gave are exactly as given in this Eurostat publication.

And perhaps on your next visit you might like to list some actual data to support your absurd claim on Irish mortality rates. A little hint: you will not find them at Eurostat, or at the CSO or in the WHO SIS (leastwise not without more of your selective distortion), which might be the reason that a magical and highly commendable transformation described in a newspaper opinion piece has not been published anywhere credible.

author by JFHpublication date Fri Dec 08, 2006 00:14author address author phone

Good Morning John
You write "As to whether the actual birth rate figure for Ireland is 15.1 or 15.3?" I am a little dense, 15.1 what? is it per thousand live people. You quote loads of figures for each year, but you do not make clear what they in fact are.

Now to you other gentle people
who wonder what relevance falling birth rates has got. I would like to ‘cut to the chase’ and quote you the following

"For a small country, Israel has an extremely strong military, with special strengths in military intelligence, air force, and elite fighting troops. All over the world, the soldiers who fight in elite units share many characteristics. They are almost always volunteers, for instance. And all over the world, the men who volunteer for these elite units are--to a remarkable degree--the children of large families. (Maybe this is because elite soldiers take unusual risks, and children from smaller families feel more obligation to stay alive--to care for their parents and carry on the family name. Or maybe it is because large families give their children a greater spirit of sacrifice. But whatever the reason is, the fact is established.) In Israel today there are very few large families. (Most of the large families come from conservative religious groups. Sure enough, many members of elite forces come from these groups.) So it is should be no surprise that--if the rumor running through military grapevines is correct--in recent years Israel has had trouble finding enough volunteers to fill its elite fighting units." by "Lt. John Doe"* EWTN News.

The Hezbollah are now dominant. God help liberal Europe when Israel falls! Like the Red Indians we will be swamped by greater numbers! Terrorism exists because we hog all the wealth and have falling birth rates! But to make it easier for the invaders, there is every indication that we will self implode! However, if society accepts that above danger exists and there is a very real probability of such outcome; then we maybe able to do something about it. . In Ireland, we should loosen our young people from the knot of unrestricted capitalism. .Let us exploit our hydrocarbon resources instead of our youth!

author by Johnpublication date Fri Dec 08, 2006 10:02author address author phone

Yes, JFH, 15.1 (or 15.3) per 1,000 population. That's how birth rate figures are usually given. I'm sure a man of your intelligence can calculate it for himself - in 2005, there were approximately 60,000 births for a population of 4,000,000 - so, 60,000 divided by 4,000,000 = approx 60 divided by 4,000 = approx 15 divided by 1,000, i.e. 15 per thousand approximately. I'm sorry for not specifying it as precisely as you would have liked, but I'm only typing up at high speed a few posts on indymedia, not delivering a lecture at TCD.

Lab Rat, the article you refer to was not written by some nonentity like me but by no less a person than Dr. Garret Fitzgerald, ex-leader of FG and qualified health statistician. What motive do you think he would have to make up something that benefitted FF and hence damaged FG and which would destroy his professional reputation if shown to be incorrect? WHO and Eurostat comparisons of mortality rates only go up to 2001 or 2002. He was giving figures for 2005. As he's a qualified statistician, you may take it he's correct and that when the WHO and Eurostat eventually publish their comparisons of mortality rates for 2005 (probably sometime in 2007 or 2008, as they're always a few years behind) they'll confirm what he said. As for life expectancy, the most recent life expectancy figure for Ireland is for 2002. The next one published will be for 2006 as the CSO only publishes them for census years. If Dr. Fitzgerald is correct about mortality rates and, given that life expectancy is calculated from mortality rates, the 2006 life expectancy figure for Ireland will show a whopping increase when its published in a year or so's time. So, when that happens remember you read it here first.

author by Stuartpublication date Fri Dec 08, 2006 12:58author address author phone

Lab Rat, the article you refer to was not written by some nonentity like me but by .... qualified health statistician .... professional reputation .... qualified statistician .... confirm what he said .... Dr. Fitzgerald is correct .... you read it here first

I read the original article and, like "Lab Rat", cannot imagine what rationale, motive or error lead to the assertions within it. The Standardised Death Rate for Ireland in 2002 was 721.29 per 100,000 person-years, an excess of 5% over the enlarged EU (687.8) and 12% over the EU members before May 2004 (641.18). The established trend is a lag of about 7 years behind the enlarged EU and 15 behind the 2004 EU, illustrated by the graph. The most recent life expectancy published by the CSO was in the 2005 Yearbook for the period 2001-2003 at 75.1 years for men and 80.3 for women. The 2004 Irish death rates are also contained in the same publication. These real data cannot be made, by any acceptable procedure, to support your assertion. Garret Fitzgerald did not provide data or calculations for anyone to check. His qualifications do not make him right, no matter how many times you repeat them, any more than your selection of a single contrary statistic amongst overwhelming evidence to the contrary make you right.

To go back to the original theme of the article, the economic success of Ireland has not been effectively translated into improved infrastructure or healthcare. The exploitation of natural and human resources continues to favour inward investment (and the widest GNP / GDP gap in Europe) for the benefit of multinationals and not for the benefit of residents. The Irish health services are under-resourced, inefficient and do not deliver effective health care.


author by jackpublication date Fri Dec 08, 2006 13:45author address author phone

Hello i know you're having an interesting debate there John and others, but i'm a bit dubious about it as THIS THREAD was started off about the Hydrocarbon giveaway currently happening.

Perhap ye could all discuss the niceties of Irish birth rates and social policy on another thread....

and leave people here to thrash out the very important point of Irish Hydrocarbon policy(lack of.....)
Its an important debate. and well done to david grey for starting it.....again....

author by Johnpublication date Fri Dec 08, 2006 17:41author address author phone

Excellent graph, Stuart, well done. But, have a good look at it. The mortality figures it shows for Ireland are for 2002. Agreed? And Dr. Fitzgerald's comments relate to 2005. Agreed? You can not prove his figures are wrong for 2005 merely by giving 2002 figures. Agreed? Likewise, I totally accept that I can not prove or even know if his figures are correct until the 2005 figures for Ireland are officially published by the CSO. I will reserve judgement until then. I suggest you do likewise. I have no more knowledge than you have of where he gets his figures from, only that (a) he is a man of high integrity (b) a qualified statistician (c) has no political motive since he's FG and his claims would benefit FF (d) through his past high office he probably has contacts with the CSO that you or I do not have. I suggest waiting until the CSO publishes the final age-standardised mortality rate (SDR) for Ireland for 2005 and then see whether or not his claims stand up. If they don't, he'll look a fool. If they do, then we'll both have to accept that he was right after all..

However, even from your own graph, it looks like he could be right. I put it no stronger than 'could', because my own knowledge is only what I read in his Irish Times article. If you look at your graph, you'll see that the latest Irish figure is for 2002, while for the EU as a whole its 2004. If you go further and look at the trend in Ireland between 1999 and 2002 in your graph, you'll see that the SDR for Ireland was falling very sharply between those two dates and that, if it had continued to fall at that rate until 2004, it would have eliminated the gap with the EU by that date. You can confirm that by projecting the red line for Ireland in your graph to 2004. I did that and it ends up almost level with the blue line and well below the green line by 2004. Clearly from the graph the gap between Ireland was much narrower at the end of the period shown as compared with what it was at the beginning of the period shown. Look at the smallness of the gap on the right-hand side of the graph as compared with the left-hand side of the graph. If that trend has continued to 2004 and on to 2005 (the year Dr. Fitzgerald made his claims for), then your graph shows its quite possible he's correct. Maybe he has inside information about what's in the CSO pipeline to be published that you or I don't have. But, let's wait and see, instead of dismissing his claims outright, which from your own graph are perfectly plausible.

author by True Leftpublication date Sat Dec 09, 2006 12:16author address author phone

As Jack said, if you want to discuss mortality, literacy rates, feckin class room sizes et al please publish your own article on the matter and have the discussion on that thread where it would be relevant.

This thread is about the mis-management of our hydrocarbon resources and the governments disgusting sell out of same which has absolutely nothing to do with how long you live or how well you can read.

author by Stuartpublication date Sat Dec 09, 2006 19:35author address author phone

Just a side note, but two important points:

1) The active stories on Indymedia can be accessed from the "latest comments" link in the top left green sidebar. The site is very active, although the most active comments often refer to stories that have dropped off the front page. Actual postings are trimmed of a great deal of inappropriate material as the newswire archive list of editorial actions shows.

2) Indymedia is funded by donations and run by volunteers, so nobody will lose their jobs.

author by d - kpublication date Sat Dec 09, 2006 20:43author address author phone

well said true left!
I think there may be people purposly trying to detract from the subject!
what has death/ birth rates got to do about resources off the Kerry coast??
my advice to "John", is contribute to the subject or buzz off and make a new thread with his graphs and statistics!

author by True Leftpublication date Sun Dec 10, 2006 12:32author address author phone

Also found this particularly insightful post on the matter of our 'friends' here.
I wont be on-line for a while because i'm off to Mayo.

Related Link:
author by Stuartpublication date Sun Dec 10, 2006 14:21author address author phone

David Grey began "Irish resources given to "business buddies" and wrote "it is mind boggling to me why the government does not hold onto these resources, they are being given away .... imagine how a fraction of the profits of just one of our nations oil/gas fields could be put to use in hospital services, education, social services, transport etc." John's claim that every member of society benefits from the industrial exploitation of all resources by a tax exile like O'Reilly or a multinational like Shell or Exxon Mobil would make Irish policy irrelevant. The fact is that we do not all benefit, and certainly not in the manner John asserts.

Ireland has no hydrocarbon policy. Ireland has no policy on the exploitation of any natural resources - whether it is plundering peat bogs for inefficient electricity production, ripping up limestone paving to export to garden centres, re-use of energy-dense materials, energy efficiency or relative fuel taxation. The appointment of such an inept minister demonstrates government priorities. On the one hand that places Ireland at the mercy of international energy policies and predatory behaviours, but it also places the Irish government at the mercy of European legislation on energy and the environment - legislation Ireland has woefully failed to implement and for which it will be penalised.

author by JFHpublication date Mon Dec 11, 2006 13:07author address author phone

See thread on Irish Troops in Afgahanistan; not unrelated to this topic

author by ndopublication date Thu Dec 18, 2008 09:27author address author phone

Dunquin is now being estimated (in today's paper) at 18 Trillion Cubic Feet of gas. Corrib, off the Mayo coast is estimated at 1TCF, and is conservatively valued at 8 billion dollars.

Related Link:
author by Patrickpublication date Thu Dec 18, 2008 11:33author address author phone

Unless indictments are successfully brought before our courts of law, I believe the mountain of crime surrounding all our "oil and gas giveaways" will continue to proceed full-steam ahead: regardless of how much talk, protests, and so on takes place (outside our courts of law).

Sad but true.

Time for a change of tack, or at least the introduction of a new piece of tack -- before it's all too late.

Related link:

author by Kathleenpublication date Thu Dec 18, 2008 12:28author address author phone

Good idea Patrick.

Maybe we could all make a useful start by having a look at our "TREASON ACT, 1939" ?

"WHEREAS it is provided by Article 39 of the Constitution that treason shall consist only in levying war against the State, or assisting any State or person or inciting or conspiring with any person to levy war against the State, or attempting by force of arms or other violent means to overthrow the organs of government established by the Constitution, or taking part or being concerned in or inciting or conspiring with any person to make or to take part or be concerned in any such attempt."

Related link:

author by Kevin T. Walsh - Social Justice and Ethicspublication date Thu Dec 18, 2008 15:43author address author phone

I am very intrigued by the posting by Mr. David Grey, the Green Party. I appreciate the topic was written in 2006 and I would like Mr. Grey to come forward now and give me an outline on the morals of the Green Party. Let us name the ones first.

Incinerator Gormley, Major Sergeant, (Food expert), Ciaran Cuffe who was moaning during the week about the resignation of Mr. Crowley, Chief Executive, Equality Authority, harmless Eamonn Ryan and not forgetting Mary Snow white... I don't need a lecture on the fundamentals of our gas and oil giveaway. I have written many articles on the same subject over the years.

Now let us get real. The Green Party are in Government - there are no qualms now. They are part of the shambles in the power seats of Dail Eireann as we speak. David, since 2006 what have you done to solve the problem you have written about? You can't have it every way in the green party but then again when Patricia McKenna left - somebody forgot to turn off the lights behind her.

If somebody were to ask me what Green represents - I would say Outright Hypocrisy and look at what became of the PD's last time out.

O Yes, good luck with the light bulbs and least forget the incinerator in Gormley's back garden in Sandymount

K.T. Walsh

Related Link: http://www.common
author by Jackiepublication date Thu Dec 18, 2008 18:35author address author phone

Is there any such thing these days as a "Grand Jury" in the Republic of Ireland jurisdiction? -- as described at and which contains the following pieces of information:

"In the early decades of the United States grand juries played a major role in public matters."

"Any citizen could bring a matter before it directly, from a public work that needed repair, to a delinquent official, to a complaint of a crime, and they could conduct their own investigations."

"In the common law, a grand jury is a type of jury which determines whether there is enough evidence for a trial. Grand juries carry out this duty by examining evidence presented to them by a prosecutor and issuing indictments, or by investigating alleged crimes and issuing presentments. A grand jury is traditionally larger than and distinguishable from a petit jury, which is used during a trial."

Answer anybody?

author by Done Quinnpublication date Thu Dec 18, 2008 20:22author address author phone

There's an email address on the original piece- maybe questions about current Green Party policy should be addressed there.

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