AN BORD Pleanála has deferred its decision on the penultimate stage of the Corrib gas project until the new year.
The board’s decision on a third pipeline route, submitted by Shell under the Strategic Infrastructure Act, was expected before the end of this month.
The application, which would involve tunnelling under Sruwaddaccon estuary, a special area of conservation, was the subject of an oral hearing that concluded on October 1st.
Community group Pobal Chill Chomáin had written to the board earlier this month asking it to reopen the oral hearing, due to a “disparity” in new information submitted by Shell.
The information was submitted to the Department of the Environment as part of a foreshore licence for the new route.
The community group has not heard back from the board, but sources close to the board said it was “unlikely” the hearing would be reopened at this stage.
Shell EP Ireland has said it has not heard from An Bord Pleanála.
Meanwhile the company said it had no comment to make on information released this week by WikiLeaks. A senior Shell executive said there could be “20 or more” Corrib gas fields off the west coast, according to a leaked US embassy cable dated April 2008. The cable says “Ireland is blessed with some of the best wind and ocean energy resources in the world”. However, “a strong sense of urgency” on climate change and energy security was “lacking”.