Wednesday 23 July 2008

Ministers urged to suspend Shell gas work

A NORTH Mayo community group has called on two Green Party Government Ministers to suspend all civil engineering works by Shell E&P Ireland in the Pollathomas and Glengad coastal area until a "rigorous geological survey and examination" is conducted.

Pobal Chill Chomáin issued the request last evening to Minister for Energy Eamon Ryan and Minister for the Environment John Gormley. The community group was formed several months ago to back a compromise location for the Corrib gas refinery.

Its statement followed the arrest of 12 people, including Rossport Five member Willie Corduff, at Glengad yesterday during a protest. The 11 men and one woman were questioned in relation to alleged criminal trespass, and were released without charge shortly before 6pm, according to the Garda in Belmullet, Co Mayo.

Shell E&P Ireland said it suspended work at the location - site of its landfall for the Corrib gas pipeline - for four hours, due to health and safety concerns associated with the protest.

In a statement, Shell said that "all necessary permits and consents" were in place from the statutory authorities. It said that environmental management plans and construction method statements had been approved by the relevant departments, and the National Parks and Wildlife Service had "witnessed" yesterday's work at Glengad.

The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries said that a foreshore licence had been issued, in consultation with the Department of the Environment.

The Department of Energy said the company had consents under section 40 of the Gas Act for construction of the pipeline, and phased consents for landfall works were issued on June 27th and 28th by the Minister Eamon Ryan.

The Department of the Environment said that while it was "not a consent authority for this project", it was "fully informed of the works that are proposed to take place this summer".

Gardaí are also investigating a complaint about video footage taken by Shell security personnel located at Glengad.

The Irish Times

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