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Rossport Five will not be at oral hearing into Corrib

The Rossport Five will not be participating in the two day public consultation relating to the Corrib gas project which gets underway this Wednesday, October 12.But the five men, who were imprisoned for 94 days for breaching a High Court injunction preventing them from interfering with work on the Corrib gas pipeline, are expected to make a statement at the public hearing.Dr Mark Garavan, spokesperson for the Shell-to-Sea campaign in support of the landowners, told the Western People that the men will issue a statement outlining why they will not be participating in the process and the contraints that they regard themselves to be under.The men consider the independent safety review to be too constrained in its terms of reference. It will examine the high pressure pipeline but Shell-to-Sea would like to see it examine alternative methods of processing the Corrib gas as well.“By that we mean an offshore platform,” Dr Garavan explained.He said the Rossport Five considered themselves to be constrained in two ways in terms of participating in the public hearing. Firstly, they remain party to an on-going court process. “The men cannot speak at this type of open forum because the issues they might raise could be raised in the High Court,” Dr Garavan said. They also note that a mediation process is to be put in train between them and Shell in due course. The men wish to await that process before adressing the substantial issues they have.“The principal of consultation is one we applaud,” Dr Garavan said. “It has come too late. The consents have been granted and the Compulsory Acquisition Orders have been given for this project. It does not make sense to have all of these initiatives now.”The public consultation has been arranged by the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources as part of the independent safety review into the onshore upstream section of the Corrib gas pipeline.The hearing will take on Wednesday, October 12 and Thursday, October 4 in Teach Iorrais, Geesala and will be chaired by Mr John Gallagher, Senior Counsel.A spokesperson for the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources indicated that the public consultation will commence at 10.00 am on Wednesday, October 12. The format of the proceedings will be decided by the Chairperson.It was revealed that Advantica, the company commissioned to carry out the independent safety review of the Corrib gas project will also be represented at the public hearing.Submissions to the public consultation can be made in person at Teach Iorrais. Written submissions can also be sent to the Corrib Technical Advisory Group by post, fax, e-mail or hand delivered to the Office of the Chief Technical Advisor, Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, 29-31 Adelaide Road, Dublin 2, Fax: (01)6782659 or e-mail Corrib.TAG@dcmnr.gov.ie The closing date for written submissions is 5.30pm on Friday October 28 next. All written submissions received will be published on the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources website at www.dcmnr.gov.iePublic opinion towards the public hearing seems mixed. Some regard the Corrib project as a “done deal”, some feel the consultation initiative is “too little, too late” but others are hopeful that locals and anyone else with an interest in the project will use the opportunity to engage in dialogue and find a resolution to the controversial proposals.Ms Maura Harrington, a well known opponent of the gas pipeline and on-shore terminal proposals, was critical of the fact that the consultation was being held mid week and during working hours, making it difficult for working people to participate. She revealed that she will not be participating in the event herself as she was previously barred from the venue over a gas related issue.Meanwhile Statoil, which is co-venturer in the Corrib gas project, has written to the Western People to stress that it did not have any part to play in the development which led to the release of the Rossport 5 on Friday, September 30 last.“The Norwegian government does not interfere with the day to day running of Statoil and, therefore, did not have any bearing on this outcome,” the company’s Public Affairs Manager, Kai Neilsen wrote.“Similarly, the recent meeting between Statoil and members of the men’s families and their representatives was useful in enhancing our understanding of the core issues but did not directly lead to the welcome developments of last week.”

Posted Date: 
13 October 2005 - 3:23pm