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Irish Examiner: Shell axes 56 jobs as a result of pipe protests

Irish Examiner: Shell axes 56 jobs as a result of pipe protests

“Mark Carrigy, operations manager for Shell EP Ireland, claimed protesters had been obstructing non-pipeline work and as a result the sub-contractors were forced to cut employee numbers.”: “The job losses come as five men jailed over their protests against the pipeline brothers Philip and Vincent McGrath, Micheal O’Seighin, Willie Corduff and Brendan Philbin were completing their fifth week behind bars.”

Saturday 30 July 2005

By Ed Carty

A TOTAL of 56 jobs are to be axed at the site of a controversial gas pipeline on the Mayo coast, it was confirmed yesterday.

Petroleum giant Shell revealed the cuts were being made on top of 35 lay-offs announced earlier this week.

The staff were involved in engineering and land works on the 70km pipeline running from the Corrib gas field to a proposed terminal at Bellanaboy.

Mark Carrigy, operations manager for Shell EP Ireland, claimed protesters had been obstructing non-pipeline work and as a result the sub-contractors were forced to cut employee numbers.

“We will be meeting with other contractors in the coming days to re-assess prospects for any progress on non-pipeline work,” he said.

Mr Carrigy hit out at protesters who he claimed were trying to block legitimate efforts to leave the working site in a safe and environmentally sound way.

“I appeal to the group of protestors to discontinue their obstruction of these sites and allow an orderly departure of workers and equipment to take place,” he said.

But protesters, who are totally opposed to the €300 million terminal near Rossport and believe the gas should be refined at sea, have been angered after a dredger appeared in Broadhaven Bay.

The job losses come as five men jailed over their protests against the pipeline brothers Philip and Vincent McGrath, Micheal O’Seighin, Willie Corduff and Brendan Philbin were completing their fifth week behind bars.

Following a meeting with the landowners in Cloverhill Prison, Green Party TDs John Gormley and Eamon Ryan called for an immediate end to all works on the site until a safety review is finished.

Mr Ryan, Green Party energy spokesperson, said: “Surely such actions will further inflame local opinion against the company in what is already a tense situation,” he said.

“I would therefore ask Shell to suspend all work on the terminal and the offshore pipeline until the independent safety review process is completed.”

Mr Ryan also repeated calls for Noel Dempsey, Natural Resources Minister, to attend a Joint Oireachtas Committee to discuss the matter.

Reports have suggested the Solitaire, the world’s largest pipe-laying vessel, would arrive in Broadhaven Bay in the next two weeks to begin laying the off-shore section of the pipe.

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