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Western People: No sign of resolution to Rossport impasse

Western People: No sign of resolution to Rossport impasse

Posted Friday 22 July 2005

By Orla Hearns

Shell E&P Ireland (SEPIL) is in ongoing negotiations to try to get the personnel involved in the Corrib gas project back to work.

In the region of 350 workers employed in various aspects of the project have not been working since supporters of the Rossport 5 mounted a protest at Bellanaboy on Monday, July 4 last.

A spokesperson for Shell said its priority was to ensure those workers could return to work imminently. He pointed out that while Shell has offered to cease all works on the onshore pipeline there are still many other aspects to the Corrib gas project that can proceed. The construction of the gas terminal itself is one such aspect.

He refuted rumours that the company was about to turn its attention to developing the off-shore pipeline. The spokesperson maintained that vessels at work in Broadhave Bay this week have been involved in conducting baseline studies.

He stressed that no works could be carried out on the offshore pipeline until phased consents are issued by the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources.

In a statement issued yesterday, Monday, July 18 Mark Carrigy, Operations Manager with SEPIL on the Corrib Project, said: “Last week the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, Noel Dempsey announced an initiative to try and resolve the safety issues apparently at the heart of the five objectors’ concerns. As part of this initiative, SEPIL offered to suspend work on the onshore pipeline while an additional safety review was initiated. The Company is confident that this further safety review can help address any remaining concerns that people may have”.

“The Company had made very significant efforts to facilitate the possible release of the 5 objectors but unfortunately these efforts were rejected. In light of Minister Dempsey’s initiative, and the Company’s offer to suspend work while an additional safety review is underway, the Company does not understand why this matter can not now be resolved”, he added.

SEPIL says it has no intention of installing or commissioning the onshore pipeline in advance of the required Ministerial phased consent. The company is now embarking on a series of meetings and discussions with local representatives to get views from the community on the best way forward.

Mr Carrigy concluded: “SEPIL has been engaged in North Mayo since 2000. Throughout this period we have consistently and comprehensively engaged in dialogue with all local stakeholders to address any concerns and queries. We wish to reiterate that we are always available to engage in constructive dialogue and we urge anyone who wishes to do so with an intention of resolving this dispute to contact us through our Bangor office.”

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