“It has been clearly demonstrated to date that Ireland has significant offshore oil reserves and I am very anxious to see a proactive State effort to ensure that the Irish people get the greatest possible benefit from this opportunity.
“Recent significant oil reserve discoveries have demonstrated the major potential that exists here for the Irish State; we need to make sure we capitalise on it. We have a serious opportunity now, before any oil is extracted. Preparation and exploration of oil could have a huge impact on job creation and revenue generation in the areas close to discoveries. I strongly believe that we shouldn’t wait on this; opportunities exist now and they must be seized upon.
“In the midst of an unprecedented economic crisis, the oil industry and its associated benefits offer us huge hope. This hope must be harnessed to generate tangible benefits in terms of jobs and investment. That is why I am calling on the Government to consider the establishment of a State body to co-ordinate and maximise the potential of our oil industry.
“Historically, State bodies such as BIM and Bord na Mona have delivered major benefits from the natural resources available to their respective sectors. Now, in a similar way, the oil industry could offer us opportunities for employment and wealth generation.
“The new agency should comprise of members with professional expertise in the oil industry and would act as a one-stop shop for all oil related matters. Now that we have considerable proven reserves, we need to establish the appropriate governmental infrastructure, like that in place in other oil rich countries, and move away from the ad-hoc nature of dealing with this on a find by find basis.”