Higgins urges ministerial action in Corrib gas row


LABOUR PARTY president Michael D Higgins has called on Minister for Energy Eamon Ryan to provide leadership in relation to resolving the Corrib gas controversy.

Mr Higgins has also asked Mr Ryan to explain why the Naval Service was used to provide protection for several vessels contracted to Shell, flying flags of convenience in breach of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Speaking in Galway yesterday Mr Higgins said it was almost a year since a compromise proposal aimed at resolving the controversy had been submitted by three Erris priests to Mr Ryan, as Minister primarily responsible for the Corrib gas project.

The three priests had proposed that an alternative location for the gas refinery on the north Mayo coastline at Glinsk would not require an onshore pipeline - and would not pose the same health and safety risks as the current refinery location.

Mr Higgins added that it was time that Mr Ryan addressed the "vacuum" which "he has left by not responding to the priests' plan".

Mr Ryan's inaction was "totally unhelpful", he said.

Planned offshore pipelaying by Shell is currently suspended, due to a reported "technical problem" with the world's largest pipelaying vessel, Solitaire.