Wednesday 17 October 2007

Corrib gas objectors to meet Ryan

AN unprecedented meeting will take place today between objectors to the Corrib gas project and Energy Minister Eamon Ryan where they will outline their concerns over the Shell-led project. The talks will centre on objections to the gas project’s refinery, planned for Bellinaboy, in north Mayo.

An eight-person committee, made up of Shell to Sea campaigners and locals are scheduled to meet Mr Ryan at Leinster House.

Shell to Sea said the meeting was the first of its kind.

“It’s the first meeting of representatives from the community, who up until now have been sidelined. We have always been opposed to the land refinery but this has been off the table for a while. We have some questions for him

[Mr Ryan] on his remit for the project,” explained campaign spokesman and Mayo man John Monaghan.

An independent report by Peter Cassells, former general secretary ICTU, is expected to be raised with Mr Ryan. In July last year, it made a number of recommendations including that Shell modify the planned onshore gas pipeline route and that Bord Gáis come on board. The report found a majority in Rossport, the wider Erris area and Co Mayo were in favour of the project. One of the Rossport Five — the men jailed for 94 days after protesting over the project — will be among those meeting Mr Ryan today.

This is the first meeting a government minister has had with any of the Rossport Five since their release.

Discussions on the Advantica report, commissioned on the safety of the pipeline, are also expected to take place. The continued Garda presence at the refinery site where protesters have gathered will also be raised.

“This is the strangest policing operation within the State and a complete waste of resources,” said Shell to Sea’s John Monaghan.

Figures released last week show the security bill for continued Garda presence at the refinery has grown to more than €8 million.

Irish Examiner

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