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Protesters brand talk of pipeline mediator as 'joke'

Talk of a mediator being drafted in to help resolve the dispute over the controversial gas pipeline on the Mayo coast is a joke, the Rossport Five claimed tonight.As the Mayo men prepared for another High Court hearing over their protests against the Shell project, Micheal O’Seighin, who was jailed for his protests, said the energy firm had no intention of altering plans.Mr O’Seighin said the men had heard nothing further about a mediator from the Government or Shell since they were released from jail.“This talk of mediation is only a joke. All it was was the government trying to give Shell justification to leave us out of jail – it was just appearances,” he said.The men are to appear in the High Court tomorrow where they will learn if they face further penalties, including fines or prison, for their refusal to comply with a court order.The injunction called on the men to give assurances not to interfere with work on the gas pipeline.Ahead of their court appearance, three of the five men Willie Corduff, Micheal O’Seighin, and Philip McGrath addressed a public meeting in Dublin.The meeting, held at the ATGWU Hall, heard about the latest development in the campaign.“The Shell project manager Andy Pyle has said to engineers and local radio that Shell hasn’t a notion of making a change to the project, so I don’t understand how we’re going to have any mediation,” Mr O’Seighin said.The men also claimed the Pro-Erris Gas Group set up to lobby in favour of the gas pipeline had once again split the community.Mr O’Seighin added: “There are three (local residents) that have not withdrawn their consent to the pipeline, that is all.“Just because they sign doesn’t mean to say they are in favour, what it does say is that they didn’t see any point in opposing it because they believe like most people that it is coming in.“Any of those who signed up for Shell they did so either because they didn’t know there was any harm in it at all because they hadn’t been told otherwise or else because they thought there was no point.”On the subject of his time behind bars, he said everyone at Cloverhill Prison were awfully nice to the Rossport Five.“It was probably the first time in history that the warders and prisoners were entirely on the same side.“But it was an eye-opener for me at 65 years old,” he added.

Posted Date: 
21 August 2006 - 1:09am