"The Government have clearly sent the message to Shell, ‘you can do whatever you want’. Fortunately due to protest, the refinery remains unconnected to the gas field. If, as Shell planned, gas had been flowing by now, we would potentially all be dealing with a gas leak and explosion.”
An Bord Pleanála has announced that Shell Ireland is to be given a further three months to come up with alternative plans for the re-routing of the controversial Corrib Gas pipeline in Co Mayo.
It had given the company until the end of this week to submit proposals to meet concerns it has in relation to the safety of the pipeline route.
It has now extended that deadline until the end of May.
Last November, An Bord Pleanála refused to approve Shell's latest plans for the pipeline, plans that were designed to take it further away from the homes of families living close to its route.
The Bord said it believed more than half of the 9km route continued to pose unacceptable risks to local residents and asked the company to come back with an alternative plan by 5 February.
In January Shell wrote to the Bord asking for extra time to do this because of the complexity and extent of the work it required.
Today the Bord said it has now given the company until 31 May to come up with its alternative proposals.
The decision will further delay plans for the laying of the pipeline linking the offshore gasfield with the €1bn refinery, which is nearing completion at Bellanaboy.
This morning the Shell-to-Sea campaign group called on An Bord Pleanála to reject the pipeline planning application in its entirety describing the Corrib gas scheme as 'a fundamentally flawed project'.