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Shell accused of ignoring local feelings

Shell’s continuing commitment to a controversial onshore pipeline in Co Mayo showed the oil giant hadn’t got the message that local people didn’t consent to the scheme, protesters said today.Following a two-day public hearing held locally by the Department of Marine and Natural Resources, the company said it was fully committed to the Corrib gas field project and to the onshore pipeline.And it ruled out any possibility of locating the gas processing plant offshore, as it would mean the project would have to go back to the drawing board.But Mark Garavan, spokesman for protest group, Shell to Sea, which wants the gas processed on an off-shore refinery for safety reasons, said today’s statement was wholly inadequate in terms of what was going on on the ground.“Even at this late stage in the project, Shell don’t get the message that the community in Rossport do not consent to the high pressure pipeline.“Fundamentally there’s no change in their position,” he said.Shell E&P Ireland Ltd managing director Andy Pyle said they believed the project was one of the most important infrastructure projects for the country and wanted to see it completed.He said the independent safety review process would address the technical and safety issues concerning the onshore pipeline while the mediation initiative announced by Minister Noel Dempsey would allow Shell and the objectors to work through the remaining concerns.“Looking ahead, we want to complete this project in order to ensure the full national and local benefits of the Corrib project are realised. “We recognise that we must work with all sides to bring about solutions to the current situation and that dialogue and accommodation may be necessary from all parties. “We believe the current process of Safety Review and Mediation offers this opportunity. We are fully committed to both. “We are encouraged by the level of cooperation in recent weeks at all our sites in relation to undertaking necessary remedial and environmental works and I commend all those involved in creating this improved climate,” he said.The company also announced it would be dismantling a section of the pipe which it welded together without permission.Mr Garavan acknowledged protesters and the oil company had come to an arrangement to facilitate environmental work at the site and to allow the dismantling to go ahead.But the supporters of the Rossport Five, who spent almost 100 days in prison for refusing to obey an High Court injunction preventing them from protesting against the pipeline, have not participated in the public hearing.Mr Garavan said it was simply too late to hold a consultation, when the project was so far advanced.

Posted Date: 
21 August 2006 - 1:09am