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Work on new route will be resisted, warns Shell to Sea

Western People

THE veteran opponent of the Corrib gas project, retired school principal Maura Harrington, has said work on the new pipeline route will be resisted.
A judicial review is the only option now open to objectors and it’s a strategy that will be discussed by Shell to Sea.
“There’s a long way to go yet,” warned Ms Harrington.
Last week’s news that An Bord Pleanála had granted permission for the project has prompted a predictably mixed reaction.
IBEC West, the group representing business in the region, said the decision would benefit Ireland’s energy infrastructure and secure local jobs and investment. At full production Corrib will meet more than 50 per cent of national demand and have a field life of 15 years, said IBEC regional director John Brennan.
The Erris Local Contractors’ Association, whose members made a submission in support of the application at the oral hearing, said the board’s decision would provide continued inward investment and sustained employment.
“Now more than ever this is important for the region as emigration of highly-skilled people in the past crippled the area to such an extent that it has only recently begun to recover,” said the contractors.
The association stressed that that safe completion of the project was the primary goal for all involved.
“Shell has worked tirelessly with us and anyone who has had any participation in the project to ensure that safety is the number one priority for everyone and, above all, that we are all safety conscious every minute of every day.”

But Shell to Sea is not convinced that the Erris community or the people of Ireland will benefit from the project.
The group, which has strongly resisted the pipeline, says Shell, Statoil and Vermillion’s shareholders are the only ones to benefit from last week’s decision.
“The Government’s own estimates are that there is at least
€600 billion worth of oil and gas off Ireland’s coast but it seems hellbent on ensuring none of the benefits go to the Irish people,” said spokesperson Terence Conway.
He warned that the people of Erris wouldn’t be bribed with an
€8.5 million community fund recommended by the board’s inspector.
“The board still seems to to think our community can be bribed into accepting a project that places us in danger. This bribery fund would also be fully tax deductible for Shell under Ireland’s current oil and gas exploration licensing terms,” he said.
Shell to Sea has vowed to continue resisting the onshore pipeline.
“Of course protests will continue and given the current economic situation we see our support growing everyday,” said Mr Conway.
Meanwhile, An Taisce has said the pipeline approval is latest “nail in the coffin of proper regulation in Ireland”.
Charles Stanley Smith, chair of An Taisce, said:
“The matter of our squandered heritage from this and other so-called ‘strategic investments’, without ensuring any benefit to the taxpayer and any appropriate protection for the environment, continues to be an untold scandal in the eyes of An Taisce,” he added.