Ministers to speak on Corrib pipeline

Thu, Apr 30, 2009, 01:00

TWO MINISTERS face harsh criticism of the Government’s position on the Corrib gas project and the actions of Shell security staff when both attend a public meeting tonight in north Mayo.

Minister for Energy Eamon Ryan and Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Éamon Ó Cuív have accepted an invitation from four Mayo groups to address the local Erris community at the “open meeting” in Inver community hall.

The ministerial appearance takes place in the context of a deteriorating situation in north Mayo, following last week’s events at the Glengad landfall site for the Corrib gas pipeline. A Fianna Fáil councillor in Erris has this week called on Shell to “be magnanimous” and move part of its refinery operation.

Rossport farmer Willie Corduff was hospitalised in Castlebar overnight last week after an alleged assault by Shell security staff assigned to Glengad. His brother-in-law was injured. Gardaí are investigating an incursion on the same night by “armed” and “masked” men.

No group has as yet claimed responsibility for the alleged incursion, and no arrests were made at the time. Gardaí say Shell security staff were “intimidated”, one security guard was injured, and equipment was damaged.

Mr Corduff claims that Shell contractors had no authorisation for “ancillary work” at the landfall,including erection of fencing.

An Taisce has issued a complaint to Mayo County Council, claiming that ancillary works at Glengad are not exempted development as the council claims.

Four groups: Pobal Chill Chomáin, Pobal Le Chéile, Rossport Solidarity Camp and Shell To Sea (Mayo) have welcomed a decision by the two Ministers to address them. “The request for a meeting was extended by our groups as a result of recent serious and sinister developments in our community,” the four groups said in a joint statement.

“Our community groups are now jointly calling on the Minister for Justice, Dermot Ahern, to immediately facilitate an internationally supervised investigation into this and other sinister incidents, so that peace and order may be restored to our community.”

Shell EP Ireland has not responded to queries on the alleged incidents or the criticism by the community.

Fianna Fáil councillor Tim Quinn, has called on Shell to make a gesture and clean the Corrib gas at an onshore site, possibly Glinsk, before piping it past houses to the inshore refinery at Bellanaboy.

The Belmullet councillor said he cannot see any solution to the controversy at present.

Last year three local priests proposed Glinsk as an alternative and acceptable site for the refinery. The proposal was rejected by Shell.