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Dublin Shell to Sea slams Pat Rabbitte's refusal to revoke Shell consents

Dublin Shell to Sea spokesperson Caoimhe Kerins has slammed Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte’s refusal to revoke the consents, granted by previous minister Pat Carey to Shell E&P Ireland, for the onshore section of Corrib gas pipeline.

The consents were granted in controversial circumstances on the day of the recent general election, despite High Court proceedings being initiated by An Taisce and Erris residents against last January's An Bord Pleanála decision to grant permission for the onshore section of the Corrib gas pipeline.


Responding to Pat Rabbitte’s announcement, Dublin Shell to Sea spokesperson Caoimhe Kerins said, ‘While the new Fine Gael/Labour promised change, it appears that Pat Rabbitte is proceeding in the same fashion as the previous Fianna Fáil led administration. Far from a new broom being swept through government departments; the same old pro-corporate thinking prevails.’

‘The new Minister has accepted, without question, the advice of his senior Department officials, who for over ten years have consistently dismissed the real and genuine concerns of Erris residents about the construction of a high pressure, odourless gas pipeline in a Special Area of Conservation. Erris residents have, on numerous occasions, been forced to appeal planning permissions for the construction of the pipeline on health and safety grounds. The success of these appeals has highlighted the very real risks posed both to local residents and the pristine environment of north Mayo.’

‘Despite hollow assurances from Pat Rabbitte that Shell’s application meets ‘’international standards’’ there is little clarity as to what those standards are. Nor indeed is there any indication as to what warning system will be put in place in the event of a leak. Given the fact that odourless gas will be pumped at high pressure through the onshore pipeline, this is an important issue that remains to be addressed.’

‘High Court proceedings are currently under way, challenging last January's An Bord Pleanála decision to grant Shell permission to construct a four metre wide tunnel under Sruth Fada Conn Estuary, a Special Protected Area and Special Area of Conservation and in the interests of democracy and transparency the consents issued by Pat Carey should be revoked. Furthermore, the deal with Shell, which will see the company no royalties or little tax on the €10 billion worth of gas in the Corrib gas field, must be renegotiated.’


Shell to Sea is a national campaign with active groups based across Ireland. The Shell to Sea campaign has three main aims.
1) To renegotiate the terms of the Great Oil and Gas Giveaway, which sees Ireland’s 10 billion barrels of oil equivalent* off the West Coast go directly to the oil companies, with the Irish State retaining a 0% share, no energy security of supply and only 25% tax on profits against which all costs can be deducted.
2) To have the Corrib gas field exploited in a safe way that will not expose the local community in Erris to unnecessary health and safety and environemental risks.
3) To seek justice for the human rights abuses suffered by Shell to Sea campaigners due to their opposition to Shell’s proposed inland refinery.
*This figure is based on the estimate, issued by the Department of Communications, Energy & Natural Resources (DCENR) in 2006, that the amount of gas and oil in the Rockall and Porcupine basins, off Ireland’s west coast, is 10 BBOE (billion barrels of oil equivalent).





Dail Eireann

To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources
if he will reverse the decision by the outgoing Minister to approve
the construction of the Corrib gas pipeline (details supplied) taken
on the day of the general election and instead take action to ensure
that the principle benefactor from this natural resource is the Irish
- Aengus Ó Snodaigh.

*    For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 22nd March, 2011.

by Shell

Ref No:   5044/11


Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Mr. P. Rabbitte)

An application, pursuant to section 40 of the Gas Act, 1976, and
Section 13 of the Petroleum and Other Minerals Development Act to
construct the Corrib Gas Pipeline was submitted by Shell E & P Ireland
Limited on behalf of the Corrib Partners on 31 May, 2010.

The detailed assessment of the application undertaken by my Department
established that:

·       The pipeline may be considered safe and the Minister could, were he
so minded, permit consent for construction subject to conditions that
would ensure compliance with commitments made in submissions,
regulations and national/international Standards.

·       The proposed construction activities and operation of the pipeline
would not adversely affect the integrity of the Natura 2000 sites
provided that the pipeline was constructed and operated:
o       within the planned parameters defined in the Application materials; and
o       in accordance with all proposed environmental conditions.

·       Subject to the specified engineering conditions, there are no
engineering reasons consent to construct should not be given in
accordance with the Application.

Having considered the foregoing the Minister granted his consent.

It is my understanding that the statutory process concerning the
applications submitted by Shell E & P Ireland Limited as provided for
in the Gas and Petroleum Acts has been followed and that the consents
granted are valid consents. Accordingly, the issue of revocation does
not arise.