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Hopes high for breakthrough in Corrib pipeline stand-off

The so-called Rossport Five are due to appear before the High Court this afternoon amid fresh hope that they may be released from prison.The five Co Mayo men have been in prison for more than three months for refusing to obey an injunction ordering them not to obstruct work on the Corrib gas pipeline.Natural Resources Minister Noel Dempsey offered to appoint a mediator last night to oversee talks between the protestors and the global oil firm Shell.He has also called on both sides to ''create the conditions'' necessary for the mediation to take place, which is being interpreted as a request for Shell to lift the injunction.Supporters of the five have insisted that they will not accept the mediation offer unless the injunction against them is lifted.Asked about the matter this morning, Mark Garavan said they would not be entering any talks until this had happened.''The ball is very much in Shell's court,'' he said.A previous mediation effort by Mr Dempsey failed because Shell refused to lift the injunction and the protestors refused to talk while it remained in place.However, hopes are high for a breakthrough this afternoon following Shell's confirmation that it had been in contact with the men's legal representatives and would be attending today's hearing.

Posted Date: 
30 September 2005 - 2:55pm