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Irish Times: Shell seeks to reassure as protests continue

Irish Times: Shell seeks to reassure as protests continue

“Shell E&P Ireland has said it is “concerned” at the “level of misinformation and myths” circulated about the Corrib gas pipeline.”

Tuesday 5 July 2005

Lorna Siggins and Tom Shiel

Shell E&P Ireland has said it is “concerned” at the “level of misinformation and myths” circulated about the Corrib gas pipeline.

As protests continued in Mayo and Galway yesterday over the jailing last week of five north Mayo residents for contempt of court after they obstructed work on the pipeline, the company said it recognised that some people had concerns and had gone to “great lengths” to ensure that “accurate information is available” and to try and “correct some of the misperceptions that exist”.

Stating that the gas pipeline would be designed, built and operated to “world-class standards”, the company said that while it had been designed for a pressure of 345 bar, it would “never” run at this level.

It would normally operate at a pressure of 120 bar.

“The design pressure of 345 bar means there is over a two-fold safety factor.

“It is deeply regrettable that the unfounded fears of some landowners have been recklessly stoked by some who must bear some of the responsibility for the current situation.

“The safety issues in relation to the pipeline were considered in great detail throughout every stage of the consultation process.

“Those who continue to pedal the myth that the pipeline will operate to the full pressure permitted are simply wrong and should withdraw these false claims,” Shell said.

The company said the Department of Marine and Natural Resources had “used independent consultants and experts to study the pipeline proposal”, and “a wide range of stakeholders including objectors have had the opportunity to raise concerns with regard to the pipeline.

“After a very thorough process, consents and authorisations were granted to proceed with the pipeline work,” it said.

In Galway, writer Jennifer Johnston and artist Lelia Doolan joined a 40-strong picket yesterday outside the constituency office of Minister of State Frank Fahey.

Ms Johnston said she was there to protest at the imprisonment of five people for “something we should all be very concerned about”.

Ms Doolan said the five men had restored people’s faith in politics, as “they had stood up for something they believe in”.

In Mayo, garda were called when lorries involved in transferring peat from Shell’s terminal site at Bellanaboy were prevented from leaving by protesters.

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