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The real story behind the Cassels Report on the Corrib project

The following is based on accounts I recieved from many local people in the Erris region of how thanx to inference from Noel Dempsey and others, the mediation process became hi-jacked by a small but noisy group of Shell apologist's who are well known locally for their contempt for local peoples legitimate concerns about the current projects affect on there health, safety and the local terrestrial and Marine environment. It goes some way to explain certain bizarre findings in the Cassels report , such as the lie that the project has the backing of the majority of local people etc. when the the truth one finds from visting the area is obviously quiet the opposite
It should come as no surprise to anyone the outcome and conclusion of yet another Dept Of Marine sponsored effort to justify the Corrib gas fiasco, this time under the so-called “independent” chairmanship of Mr Cassels, Minster Noel Dempsey’s friend and canvasser for FF in a recent Meath by-election. Many people including myself gave Mr Cassels the benefit of the doubt, hoping that a fair and reasonably independent mediation process would emerge.
The Rossport 5 gave the mediation process their goodwill and backing despite the fact that Shell still seemed reluctant to negotiate with them face to face as a group in an open and honest manner,. However after a couple of weeks doubts began to emerge about the independence of the whole mediation process when the Rossport 5 and others complained of interference by the minister and people connected with Shell in what was supposed to be a process between the affected landowners, concerned locals and Shell.
The evidence is for this is plain to see by anyone who has read Mr Cassels report . It is obvious from the acknowledge section that the whole process over time became hijacked by the usual , small but noisy group of local Shell apologists in Erris and beyond which is bizarre since the whole process was set up to deal with local safety and environmental concerns.
These puny in number but loud in voice consisted of PEGG(Pro Erris Gas Group), Western Development Commission, and rogue elements of the long discredited IMG (Independent Monitoring Group) among others, none of whom have shown anything but contempt for local peoples health, safety and environmental concerns over the last few years . People on the ground in Rossport and the wider Erris area noted the increasingly disproportionate amount of time, consideration and influence this motley crew gained during the by now creaking mediation process.
Meanwhile apart from a couple of meetings with the Rossport 5 the majority on the other side appeared to have little or no influence or say in Mr Cassels final report. For example the ShelltoSea HQ at Bellanaboy the main rallying point for opposition to the currently proposed project received barely an hour of Mr Cassels time which regretfully consisted of a “breaking the ice” session which consisted of irrelevant chit-chat on his part. Unfortunately he subsequently appeared to have been none too keen to return and discuss the the substantial issues. Indeed he was never seen again at Bellanaboy .
The reason I wrote this piece was because these uncomfortable facts seem to have gone unnoticed by the bulk of the so called mainstream media in there analysis of the mediation outcome. This consists of the perpetuation of the falsehood spun by Noel Dempsey and other vested interests that local people are only too delighted to become the servants and pawns of Shell and the Dept of the marine in return for a few crumbs (450,000 euros in total is the latest figure) from the massive 1 billion plus pure profit which Shell and its partners stand to make from the project, thanks to the Irish governments policy of free gas for everyone - except the Irish people who will have to fork out for it at prevailing market prices.
Unfortunately for Shell and the government, public opinion is getting sick and tired of this kind of self-serving spin; and is coming to the realisation that had this project had been designed with some degree of competence and respect for local peoples concerns and economic well being, ie the processing of the gas at sea, the Corrib gas would be flowing through Bord Gáis pipes by now. PS - Sorry for any spelling/diction mistakes as i had to right this up under pressure of time.

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Radio by supp Mon Jul 31, 2006 08:01
Do the Rossport 5+ do any radio interviews?

Not certain by cool j Mon Jul 31, 2006 08:46
ShelltoSea spokesperson Mark Garvan has done most of the interviews on Friday and over the weekend. The coming week should see more interviews on local radio, possibly with some of the Rossport 5 but its been a hectic few days here and I haven't had time to check exactly the situation. Michael Shine did an interview on RTE 1 last friday. Also the Rossport to Nigeria series is broadcast again on RTE Radio at 7pm Thurday so the lads will be sharing there toughts on that too.

Noel Dempsey and the environment by M. Ni Bhrolchain - Save Tara Mon Jul 31, 2006 10:36
Off this topic slightly but let us remember that Noel Dempsey was also the Minister, in his capacity as Minister for the Environment, who decided at a political level that the M3 would go through Tara's complex landscape. He has been a walking disaster area in his ministeries - he tried to bring back third level fees as well when Minister for Education.

It's not off Topic. by Chris Murray - The Unmanageables Mon Jul 31, 2006 13:24
Minister Dempsey, Minister for Shell- appointed an independent mediatorwho just happened to have been the man charged with returning Mr Dempseyand his'running mate' to the hallowed halls of Leinster house.The FF election process involves FF bringing in a running mate and buoyingup the overall majority in their constituency.Dempsey moved from junior at Duchas, to Environment, Transport, Shell.whilst at Environment he appointed his cousin to the NRA.Whilst at Shell* he appointed his election manager to the Corrib project.*(Marine, Natural resources)Targeting a sitting TD with the aid of other communities alienated by theplanning and consultative process is not off topic, its making links betweencommunities and disecting the process wherein these people are returned toLeinster House.The link in this is that two communities are fighting for their rights tolive in peace away from the big business cronies who are cashing in ontheir heritage, through the offices of a corrupting legislature.

An all too familar tale Chris!! by cool j Tue Aug 01, 2006 02:54
Well said Chris - This type of corruption extends right down the foodchain to Co Co level. Here in Mayo we have a county manager who along with his officials have done their utmost to cover up for Shell's many illegal activities(particulary the pollution of Lough Carrowmore caused by works at SHell's Bellanaboy's site - the main source of tap water in Erris). Interestingly! - the Co. managers son would have received a lucrative catering contract from Shell had the project not been halted last year with the imprisonment of the Rossport 5.

Anything that can help the campaigns by Chris Murray - The Unmanageables Tue Aug 01, 2006 10:34
Should be used.*Campaigns, being Bantry, Tara, Pallaskenry, Rossport, Poolbeg.**Each of these communities is sited in some minister or councillor's constituency/ward*.*It is coming up to an election*-*Mainstream media functions by isolating communities so that it feels like a simple caseof no-one hearing you, when in fact the planning corruption is endemic.*The consultative process is presented as a fait accompli.Arbiters are not independent.*The beauty of it is that these communities have already met or sent representatives to meetingsand they should keep in touch and formulate an election strategy.*However- the twelve months or less before the election often sees delays in these issues creating a false sense of security and people don't stay angry enough.Ways to keep angry:Read planning legislation. The SIB is very informative, especially because it does not include the Poolbeg incinerator project (in Michael Mc Dowell's constituency, this was lobbied for in the context of not setting up a board, but dividing An Bord Pleanala)Read The National Road Authority's Planning and Construction Guidelines.Study Martin Kay on the consultative process: this could be accessed through the Tara Heritage Preservation Group. Martin lectures in the University Of Limerick.Be aware that the partnership/consultative process is apparently tri-partite:- Business (lobbies, cronies, corrupt politicians). Political(same as above) and the community (steward of the landscape/heritage).Most invasive planning begins with a pro-planning focus group:- This consists of the vested commercial interests who are linked to two of the parties in the consultative process.And always remember that:- One size does not fit all.

Posted Date: 
1 August 2006 - 4:50pm