Shell E&P Ireland has resumed investigative work on the proposed new Corrib pipeline route in north Mayo, following suspension of activity when two Shell to Sea campaigners boarded one of the drilling rigs.
The two campaigners from the Rossport Solidarity Camp secured themselves with a hammock under the drilling rig for a period of 12 hours from shortly after 7am to 7pm.
They were wearing dry suits and had food, and left voluntarily at 7pm, when work was due to finish on the drilling rigs under the licensing terms.
Two other protestors were arrested by gardaí earlier yesterday during the demonstration, which began when some nine kayakers and swimmers approached the two drilling rigs contracted by Shell to drill up to 80 boreholes in Sruwaddaccon estuary, a special area of conservation.
The two detained were later released and a file sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
One Garda rigid inflatable boat (RIB) and up to 13 Shell and security ribs were monitoring the demonstrators throughout the day and yesterday evening.
An attempt was made to start work with a second drill on the platform at 9am yesterday, but was halted after complaints by protestors on health and safety grounds. A third woman who had been detained in the protest was left in the water by a rib, and had to be rescued by one of the camp members.
Camp member Róisín Ní Fhaoláin said that the group felt the protest was justified, in the light of An Taisce’s submission to the Bord Pleanála oral hearing in Belmullet last Friday.
An Taisce called for the oral hearing into a revised route for the pipeline to be adjourned or new information submitted by Shell must be disallowed.
In an 80-page submission, it said that appellants did not have time to assess new information submitted by Shell to the hearing in relation to its investigative work in Sruwaddacon estuary, which has been licensed by Minister for Environment John Gormley.
“We've stopped the work this morning to protect this beautiful SAC,” Ms Ní Fhaolain said.
Gardaí confirmed that there had been two arrests. Shell E&P Ireland was unavailable for comment.
The Bord Pleanála hearing into the new pipeline under the Strategic Infrastructure Act is continuing this week in Belmullet.