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Irish Times: Labour wants wider Corrib review

Irish Times: Labour wants wider Corrib review

“The five men, who are due back in court on July 25th, have rejected Mr Dempsey’s initiative. They have said a direction to Shell and partners Statoil and Marathon to build an offshore terminal is the only solution in terms of safety. Shell E&P Ireland has said it does not wish the current situation to continue and will continue “efforts to facilitate a resolution”.

Saturday 16 July 2005

Lorna Siggins, Marine Correspondent

The Labour Party has called on Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources Noel Dempsey to expand the terms of his new safety review of the Corrib gas project to include examining an offshore terminal option.

Labour Party marine and energy spokesman Tommy Broughan said the party was demanding a “complete review” of the current pipeline project, and “serious consideration of the possibility of establishing the terminal processing plant offshore”.

Mr Broughan said he was making his call after a detailed discussion with Prof Werner Blau, a Trinity College Dublin physics professor, part-time Rossport resident and Labour member, and Castlebar area representative Harry Barrett.

“A full-scale review should encompass an investigation of the abandonment of the current proposed pipeline and the adoption of an alternative undersea route or the full offshore option,” Mr Broughan said.

Mayo TD Dr Jerry Cowley (Ind), who is organising a rally in support of the jailed five Rossport residents in Ballina, Co Mayo, this afternoon, has called on Mr Dempsey to suspend issuing any further exploration licences in Irish waters until there is an inquiry into the original 1987 and 1992 tax deals for exploration companies.

Dr Cowley says he also intends to refer the matter to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Communications, Marine and Natural Resources for investigation.

“It is dreadful to think that people are awaiting hospital beds because of lack of resourcing of our health service, while the State is allowing oil and gas exploration companies to operate with no royalties, a 25 per cent tax rate and no benefit to the State in relation to the Corrib gas project.”

Dr Cowley’s call was supported by Padhraig Campbell, chairman of the Campaign for Protection of Resources.

Mr Campbell was also critical of the new safety review announced by the Minister this week. He said the timing of the announcement on the eve of another appearance in court by the five men was designed to exert undue pressure on the men and “manipulate the media”.

The five men, who are due back in court on July 25th, have rejected Mr Dempsey’s initiative. They have said a direction to Shell and partners Statoil and Marathon to build an offshore terminal is the only solution in terms of safety.

Shell E&P Ireland has said it does not wish the current situation to continue and will continue “efforts to facilitate a resolution”.

It said Corrib gas would provide an energy supply for the next 15 years. “Without Corrib Ireland would almost exclusively require imported gas for the country’s energy demands.”

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