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Shell contempt of court challenge adjourned

By: 
Áine Ryan - Mayo News

A DISTRICT Court judge who ruled that Shell E&P Ireland was in contempt of court has agreed to adjourn a hearing about the company’s application to clarify the case in the High Court.
At a sitting of Westport District Court last week, Judge Mary Devins afforded further time for legal representatives of Shell and Ms Monica Muller (pictured) of Rossport South to agree on the minutiae of the case to be stated.
This was after Mr John Gordon, counsel for Shell, argued that Ms Muller’s legal representative, Ms Mairéad Casey had only furnished her amendments just before the court sitting.
Mr Gordon also told the court that any differences between both parties were small.
On September 4 last, Judge  Devins found Shell in contempt of a District Court Order, issued in November 2007, prohibiting the company from carrying out exploratory works on Rossport south commonage in north Mayo.
These related to then proposed new route for the controversial Corrib gas project.
The order was made after Ms Muller and other shareholders in the Rossport commonage claimed they had not been served with proper notice of Shell’s intention to conduct site investigations on these lands.
During subsequent hearings, Shell counsel justified the actions of its personnel by arguing that, in the interim, the company had bought a share in the commonage.
However, in response to the judge’s ruling of contempt, the company said it was ‘very unhappy’ with the order and wished for it to be clarified in the High Court.
Furthermore,  last month Shell applied successfully to the district court for the vacation of the order.
Judge Devins agreed at the end of last week’s sitting in Westport to hear both parties proposed amendments to the draft case to be stated at Achill District Court which sits at 10.30am on Thursday next, November 12.