Royal Dutch Shell Plc  .com Rotating Header Image

Irish Times: Dempsey sets up body to monitor gas project

Irish Times: Dempsey sets up body to monitor gas project

“The development comes as Shell E&P Ireland is under pressure to lift its injunction imposed on north Mayo residents who are opposed to the pipeline, following its admission of a “technical breach” of ministerial consents. Five local men have been in prison for a month over their breach of the injunction.”: “More than 2,000 people rallied in support of the five men in Dublin on Saturday.”

Monday July 25, 2005

Lorna Siggins, Marine Correspondent

Minister for the Marine Noel Dempsey has set up a high-level technical group to monitor the €900 million Corrib gas project in north Mayo.

The new group is independent of the Petroleum Affairs Division (PAD), which has been responsible for monitoring the project to date, and will be led by Tom McManus, former chief technical officer in the Department of Public Enterprise.

It will include a senior geologist, engineer, assistant principal officer and legal expert, and will advise the Minister on the safety review which he has commissioned.

The group has been given a monitoring role over and above that of the PAD, which had been relying on weekly reports submitted to it by Shell to date. The Minister has also approved appointment of two additional staff to the PAD.

The development comes as Shell E&P Ireland is under pressure to lift its injunction imposed on north Mayo residents who are opposed to the pipeline, following its admission of a “technical breach” of ministerial consents. Five local men have been in prison for a month over their breach of the injunction.

The company is expected to respond this week to the Minister’s letter to its chairman, Andy Pyle, on Saturday, stating that certain works, including stringing and welding of pipeline lengths, were a departure from the consents issued.

It is understood that Shell – which said 10 days ago that the pipeline had arrived in one piece – had applied last May for permission to weld the pipeline, over and above existing consents.

This application was acknowledged, but was not approved by the department. It is also understood that a reference to welding work was made in one of the multinational’s reports to the PAD last month. Last Tuesday, following a report in The Irish Times, PAD officials visited the pipeline route and confirmed welding had taken place.

The company will be represented in the High Court today when the case of the five imprisoned men is due for mention. Labour Party leader Pat Rabbitte called on Shell yesterday to lift its injunction on the men, but the company said that it would be “inappropriate” to respond as legal issues were involved.

Mark Garavan, a spokesman for the five imprisoned men, said yesterday that they were giving a cautious welcome to the letter issued by the Minister to Shell at the weekend. They were also wary of the timing of the Minister’s announcement, several hours before a rally in support of the men in Dublin and on the weekend before another court hearing, he said.

Mr Garavan said that while the men were “glad that the truth was coming out in relation to Shell’s actions in north Mayo”, the development “changed nothing in relation to the health and safety concerns over the high-pressure onshore gas pipeline”. The five men and their families are insisting that the company builds its gas refinery at sea, he said.

Mayo TD Dr Jerry Cowley (Ind), who visited the men yesterday, echoed this view and called for a “root-and-branch examination of the entire Corrib gas project”, along with a freeze on any further offshore licensing. The president of the High Court, Mr Justice Joseph Finnegan, also needed to review the injunction he granted to Shell restraining the landowners last April, as it was “clearly flawed”.

“Ultimately, Minister Noel Dempsey must show some leadership,” Dr Cowley said. “If his predecessor, marine minister Frank Fahey, could rewrite the Bible’s Book of Genesis to bring the shoreline 9km inland when he issued compulsory acquisition orders on these lands, then clearly Minister Dempsey can direct the company to build its terminal offshore.”

In a separate development, the board of Údaras na Gaeltachta’s board has called for the release of the five men and for the construction of an offshore terminal by Shell. The motion, which was unopposed, was proposed by Cllr Seamus O Cuaig (Ind) and seconded by Cllr Tim Quinn (FF).

More than 2,000 people rallied in support of the five men in Dublin on Saturday.

royaldutchshellplc.com and its also non-profit sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net and shell2004.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

0 Comments on “Irish Times: Dempsey sets up body to monitor gas project”

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: