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Corrib gas: A lesson in how not to go about building a major piece of infrastructure

Irish Times Editorial

Genuine, on-going consultation with the local community from the point of discovery 20 years ago might have ensured better outcomes

When the sky over Broadhaven Bay in northwest Mayo turned “pure orange” last New Year’s Eve, it was evident that gas had finally come ashore after years of tribulations over Shell E&P Ireland’s controversial Corrib gas project.

For many local residents, the “flaring” at Shell’s Bellanaboy terminal was a frightening occurrence that seemed to confirm their worst fears about the safety of refining volatile gas onshore rather than at sea, which is standard international practice.

This was at the heart of the long-running “Shell to Sea” campaign, which had earlier been vindicated by An Bord Pleanála’s 2002 decision to refuse planning permission for the scheme after one of its senior planning inspectors, Kevin Moore, concluded that Bellanaboy was “the wrong site” for such a “highly obtrusive” industrial project that involved safety risks as well as “significant environmental costs”.

Posted Date: 
1 February 2016

Corrib gas a ‘template’ for ‘how not to undertake a development’

Lorna Siggins - Irish Times

[Shell to Sea] A monument to corruption

British engineers’ group say more democratic approach could have avoided cost overruns

The Corrib gas project is a template for “how not to undertake a development”, according to a new planning approach published by the British Institution of Civil Engineers.

Although the gas project has secured its final Government approval from Minister for Energy Alex White, the prospect of further legal challenges and the large Garda presence at an “invitation-only” opening reflects the fact that it still does not have community consent.

Two of the report’s four authors say that had both Shell and Government agencies adopted a more democratic approach, they could have avoided cost overruns, including “the loss of at least €600 million loss to the tax payer”, and could also have “avoided the serious ensuing conflict with the local community”.

Posted Date: 
26 January 2016

20 years after gas discovery, Corrib opens in north Mayo

Lorna Siggins - Irish Times

[Shell to Sea] It seems Minister for Energy Alex White is ashamed to show his face with Shell despite doing their bidding and signing off on the final Corrib gas consent on 29th Decemeber, despite a pending judicial review of the EPA licence.

Joe McHugh representing Government at invitation-only event in Belmullet

Colm and Gabielle Henry live at Glengad, Co Mayo. Their home overlooks Sruwaddacon Bay and  the pipeline’s landfall. Photograph: Keith Heneghan  

Colm and Gabielle Henry live at Glengad, Co Mayo. Their home overlooks Sruwaddacon Bay and the pipeline’s landfall. Photograph: Keith Heneghan


The €3.5 billion Corrib gas development is due to be opened by Minister of State for Natural Resources Joe McHugh on Monday, almost 20 years after the gas discovery was reported off the north Mayo coast.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny had been earmarked for the invitation-only event, but will be at Downing Street in London. Corrib shareholders Shell, Statoil and Vermillion are hosting a plaque unveiling and lunch in Belmullet, almost 15km from the gas refinery.

While much of the town’s focus is currently on sale of the €13.7 million winning Lotto ticket in Carey’s newsagent, the project opening represents a significant milestone.

It was given final approval by Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Alex White on December 29th, and valves controlling the wells at the field, 83km offshore, were opened on December 30th.

Posted Date: 
25 January 2016

I suspect Patrick Pearse lived his life on the edge of sorrow

Michael Harding - Irish Times

[Shell to Sea]  It is worth nothing that John O'Donoghue took part in the meeting in January 2005 during which the local group who, for 5 years had no name adopted the name Shell to Sea.

I saw the flares of burning methane off the coast on an iPhone, and it occurred to me that Shell is lucky John O’Donohue isn’t around any more. O’Donohue was a writer, an intellectual warrior with a coach and horses at the ready to charge against industrialists, developers or any multinationals who would plunder mother Earth.

He was once asked what was so important about nature. His answer didn’t focus on ecology or Alpine plants. After all, he was a philosopher, not a scientist. He was concerned with the “given world”, not the “known world”. His feet touched the ground as a child might touch a mother, trusting that the earth around him had been given to him as the outer manifestation of some hidden and sacred mystery. So when asked why it was so important to retain the unspoiled beauty of the coastline, he simply replied that the wilderness along the Atlantic coast was a tabernacle of sacred being.

Posted Date: 
24 January 2016

Rear Window: Songs of Solidarity

teleSUR English - YouTube

"Songs of Solidarity” tells the story of a community in the west of Ireland who have been protesting for 15 years against a gas pipeline through the village of Rossport. This film is about the local community’s fight to protect their land.

Posted Date: 
10 January 2016
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