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Daily Mirror: VICTORY; Shell Halts Pipeline As Minister Orders Safety Review

Daily Mirror (UK): VICTORY; Shell Halts Pipeline As Minister Orders Safety Review

“The energy giant has been forced by the Government to back down in the row over the Corrib gas pipeline that saw five farmers jailed for the past two weeks.”

Thursday 14 July 2005

SHELL last night suspended all work on a controversial pipeline amid fears it may be risking the lives of the local community.

The energy giant has been forced by the Government to back down in the row over the Corrib gas pipeline that saw five farmers jailed for the past two weeks.

The Mayo Five – Philip McGrath, Willie Corduff, Vincent McGrath, Brendan Philbin and Micheal O’Seighin – were imprisoned for contempt of court.

They ignored a High Court ruling ordering them not to block the construction of the pipeline on their land.

Natural Resources Minister Noel Dempsey, pictured right, yesterday ordered the safety review of the Co Mayo pipeline in a bid to resolve the row. The move is a bitter blow to the company which has been unable to carry out work on the project due to the protests.

Mr Dempsey said: “At my request, Shell E&P Ireland has agreed to suspend all work on the route of the pipeline for the present.

“A safety review will put in place a process which should meet the needs of all concerned. Over the past seven days, I have been in contact with the five men currently in prison for contempt of court in relation to the proposed onshore Corrib gas pipeline. The contacts focused on the concerns expressed in relation to the safety of the pipeline.

“On my behalf, an intermediary offered a further safety review of the onshore pipeline, to be conducted by international experts, with a view to meeting the concerns raised.”

It’s understood that in addition to the health and safety audit, Mr Dempsey was assured by Shell that the pipe’s pressure would not exceed 150 bars.

But Mr Dempsey said he will not meet the men until they purge their contempt.

Shell wants to build a 9km link to bring ashore unrefined gas from its Corrib gas field to a refinery terminal inland, but local people claim it is dangerous.

Thousands of people have gathered at the company’s depot in Rossport since the men were jailed to express their support.

Source: Daily Mirror

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