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Human rights group 'dismayed' at outcome of Corrib complaint

Lorna Siggins - Irish Times

JUSTICE, PEACE and human rights group Afri has expressed “dismay” at the outcome of a complaint submitted to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) over aspects of the Corrib gas project.

A “final statement” on the complaint lodged by north Mayo community group Pobal Chill Chomáin two years ago was published on Tuesday by OECD representatives in Ireland and the Netherlands.

The Irish and Dutch national contact points (NCPs) said there were insufficient grounds for mediation between Shell EP Ireland and the community, due to “irreconcilable” differences on the location of the Corrib gas processing plant. Government compliance with EU legislation on Corrib consents was an issue for the judicial system, and not within their remit, they indicated.

They also found that the Shell-led “consortium” had “shown a willingness” since 2005 to “address health and safety concerns, of which the revised route for the onshore part of the pipeline seems the clearest proof”.

Afri spokesman Joe Murray said that the OECD’s approach to the complaint had been “completely lethargic”, involving only two meetings with the complainants and not one visit by its representatives to the area. “The OECD NCPs didn’t take this complaint seriously, didn’t focus on the issues, and an opportunity to resolve a long-running conflict has been lost,” Mr Murray said. “The north Mayo community did look for a legal forum, and the inadequacy of the response is such that Afri won’t be recommending this as an avenue for communities in other conflict situations,” he said.

“The fact that the OECD has admitted Israel as a member says everything about the OECD’s commitment to human rights, which were not addressed in this statement,” Mr Murray added.

Shell EP Ireland had said it would “wholeheartedly” engage with the OECD process, and said it would “remain committed to seeking sustainable solutions to any genuine concerns expressed in relation to the Corrib project”.

It said yesterday it would not comment officially on the outcome, but it’s understood the company welcomes the finding. An Bord Pleanála is due to reopen its hearing on the final section of pipeline on August 24th under the Strategic Infrastructure Act.