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Irish Times: Mayo TD seeks details of civil servant’s role

Irish Times: Mayo TD seeks details of civil servant’s role

“Independent Mayo TD Jerry Cowley is seeking an explanation for the role of a senior civil servant in his dealings with Shell, builders of the proposed Corrib onshore gas pipeline.”

Wednesday Jul 06, 2005

By Lorna Siggins and Tom Shiel

Independent Mayo TD Jerry Cowley is seeking an explanation for the role of a senior civil servant in his dealings with Shell, builders of the proposed Corrib onshore gas pipeline.

Dr Cowley was prompted by a reference to advice from the civil servant in the petroleum affairs division of the Department of the Marine and Natural Resources, recorded in discussion between Shell and its lawyers in relation to the pipeline.

As reported in yesterday’s Irish Times , the internal memo was contained in an exhibit as part of an affidavit issued by Shell’s lawyers to the five Mayo men who were jailed last week for contempt for refusing to obey a court order not to obstruct work on the pipeline.

The memo of June 10th recorded by Shell’s lawyers refers to contact between a Shell representative, Susannah Uglow, and Michael Daly of the petroleum affairs division in the Department of Marine and Natural Resources on the timing of ministerial consents for the contentious Corrib gas pipeline.

The memo quotes Ms Uglow as confirming that the division “did not want the original Quantified Risk Assessment (QRA) made public until the consent on foot of the updated QRA has issued”. Dr Cowley believes the public had a right to this information. The original assessment was commissioned to assess design safety of the pipeline by Corrib’s former major shareholders, Enterprise Energy Ireland.

The Minister, Noel Dempsey, has declined to comment. A spokeswoman told The Irish Times that the reference in an internal memo was not a matter for it, as it did not represent an agreed minute of any meeting.

Dr Cowley has also called for a reconvening of the Dail to discuss the imprisonment of the five men who are opposed to the pipeline, and has welcomed a statement from a Fianna Fail councillor in Mayo in support of an offshore terminal.

Cllr Tim Quinn (FF) told The Western People that he thought the gas from the Corrib field off Mayo should be processed at sea, whatever the cost or abandoned. “This kind of pipeline is the first of its kind in the world and people are genuinely worried,” Cllr Quinn said. “It’s caused a lot of pain . . .”

Meanwhile, a man picketing the proposed site of the gas terminal at Bellanaboy was injured by a Land Rover yesterday.

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