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Pipeline protesters angry at Minister's role

Pipeline protesters angry at Minister's role11/08/2005 - 19:25:22 Online.ieMinister Noel Dempsey’s decision to allow work on a controversial offshore gas pipeline in County Mayo makes a safety review on the onshore section meaningless, protesters said tonight.Campaigners against the pipeline held a rally today outside the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources to protest against the minister’s role in the pipeline being constructed by a consortium led by oil giant Shell.Five men from Rossport, Co Mayo, have spent the last six weeks in Dublin’s Cloverhill Prison for refusing to obey a High Court order preventing them from obstructing the construction of the pipeline from the Corrib gas field.They want the gas to be refined offshore rather than transported along the pipeline beside their homes to the onshore refinery.The daughter of one of the five men imprisoned said today’s protest was in direct response to Mr Dempsey’s decision to allow work on the offshore section of the scheme despite forcing Shell to dismantle an onshore section which was welded together without permission.Shell has suspended all work on the €900m project pending a safety review later in the year.Maire Ni Seighin, daughter of Micheal O’Seighin, said allowing work to go ahead on the offshore section of the pipeline rendered the safety review meaningless.“It totally prejudices the findings of any safety review,” she said.“The issue isthat the different parts of the project are being run in a different way. The whole thing should be looked at as one big project.”Ms Ni Seighin said she believed that the minister and his department had already decided that the safety measures for the pipeline and the area in which it was sited were acceptable.She also said that, while she believed engineers for the project had designed a pipeline with high safety specifications, it didn’t take into account the people living 70 metres from the pipeline.“They talk about the safety of the pipeline, but it’s the safety of the people we’re concerned about.“I would prefer for it to be sited offshore – that would create more benefits financially for the area,” she added.Protest group Shell to Sea Dublin handed in a letter at the department inviting the minister to a meeting with family and supporters of the “Rossport Five”.The group is also inviting Shell to send representatives to the meeting to discuss the future of the project.Today Ms Ni Seighin said her father was in good spirits and the men were receiving many visitors.She said the Rossport Five were not prepared to purge their contempt because it would leave them unable to conduct any kind of peaceful protest against the pipeline.

Posted Date: 
12 August 2005 - 8:48pm