Wednesday 20 May 2009

Revised Corrib route is 'safe'

Corrib gas consultants have said that a re-routed onshore pipeline is “safe” and meets all “relevant” codes and standards.

RPS Consultants for Shell E&P Ireland have told Bord Pleanála that the proposed new onshore pipeline route achieves “the optimum balance of community, environmental and technical criteria” developed by the consultants.

The consultants are among 17 witnesses for Shell E&P Ireland and partners Statoil and Marathon, listed to speak at an oral hearing which opened today in Belmullet, Co Mayo.

Some 78 submissions are to be heard for and against the application, which has been made under the Strategic
Infrastructure Act. The revised route for the 9.2 km onshore pipeline was selected as a result of a recommendation by Government mediator Peter Cassells in 2006.

Health and safety concerns about the original high pressure onshore pumping gas from the Corrib field off the Mayo coast into a refinery at Bellanaboy route led to the jailing of the five men known as the Rossport five for 94 days in 2005.

Opening the hearing, Mr Nolan expressed condolences to the families of the Belmullet-based Achill garda Terence Dever and Inver resident Stephen Conway, who both lost their lives in a car collision outside Belmullet ten days ago

Mr Nolan also appealed to parties at the hearing to engage in “reasoned point by point arguments” and making “heated contributions” would be less effective.

The hearing is expected to last three to four weeks with target decision take by mid-August.

Retired schoolteacher and Shell to Sea activist Maura Harrington was jailed for 14 days last night for
non-payment of fines related to her imprisonment for 30 days earlier this year. Ms Harrington has made a submission to the oral hearing.

Shell to Sea said it condemned “the continued persecution through political policing of protesters seeking to oppose the giveaway of Ireland’s natural resources through the Corrib Gas Project, and to protect the safety of the local area and its people.”

Erris fishermen who have not secured an agreement with Shell on laying the offshore pipeline in Broadhaven Bay have accused the company of breach of promise. Some of the fishermen staged a protest tie-up at Ballyglass pier this evening.

Irish Times

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