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Irish Times: Court action next week to seek release of jailed men

Irish Times: Court action next week to seek release of jailed men

Saturday 2 July 2005

Mary Carolan

A bid to secure the release of five men jailed earlier this week after they refused to undertake not to obstruct construction of a high pressure pipeline linked to the offshore Corrib gas field development by Shell in Co Mayo will come before the High Court next Wednesday.

While three of the five – brothers Philip and Vincent McGrath and Willie Corduff – agreed before the court yesterday not to obstruct a road leading to the gas terminal depot at Rossport, all five remain in jail for their refusal to obey the terms of a court order of April 4th last restraining obstruction of the pipeline’s construction.

The other two jailed men, who were not before the court yesterday, are James P Philbin and Micheal O Seighin.

The pipeline is being constructed under lands owned by Mr Corduff, Mr Philbin and the McGrath brothers, and they have expressed fears for their safety on several grounds, including that the pipe will have a pressure of 345 bar, five times the pressure of a Bord Gais pipe.

They also dispute the validity of various ministerial and other consents for construction of the pipeline.

A solicitor, Greg Casey, told the president of the High Court, Mr Justice Joseph Finnegan, yesterday he believed the ministerial consents for installation of the pipeline are invalid. He asked for leave to make an application to discharge the judge’s order of April 4th.

Mr Casey said that order referred to the installation of the pipeline and the nature of the material to be pushed through the pipe.

He had learned on Thursday that what had been represented as a consent for the installation of a pipeline was “grossly incorrect”.

Patrick Hanratty SC, for Shell E&P Ireland, said it was “absolutely incorrect” to say there was no ministerial consent for installation of the pipeline.

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