A NEW Government-backed initiative on the Corrib gas project has been described as “timely, balanced, inclusive, comprehensive and meaningful” by the Council for the West.
Council chairman Seán Hannick said the establishment of a community forum for development in northwest Mayo, taking in the Corrib project, was “a holistic approach that deserved to be given a fair chance by all interests in the region”.
Chaired by Joe Brosnan, a retired senior civil servant, the community forum announced this week will focus on economic development in the region. It will also address specific contentious issues about the Corrib project, including compliance with permits and licences, safety, technology and environmental management.
Mr Hannick said for “too long the debate has been around a single issue, the Corrib gas find and how it might be utilised”. He said: “In a sense, that has led to differing views from differing groups while the Government, which should have been playing a much more helpful and understanding role from the outset, stood back when leadership and vision were needed to alleviate a difficult situation.”
Originally established by the western bishops to campaign for objective one status, the council is an independent group that lobbies for economic development in the region.
Shell EP Ireland and a number of campaigners against the development have welcomed the forum. But the Campaign for Protection of Resources (CPR) warned that it is “doomed to failure unless it has a total understanding of the opposition to the project as currently constituted”.
“The local community, through Pobal Chill Chomáin and the area’s priests, has put forward a compromise location for this gas refinery which is backed by Bishop of Killala Dr John Fleming and both Labour and Fine Gael politicians. This project can benefit both the State and the local community, if done properly,” Padhraig Campbell of CPR said.
The Irish Times