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Emigrant Online, Ireland: Rossport Five hold out

Emigrant Online, Ireland: Rossport Five hold out

“The five, whose protests against Shell’s proposed gas pipeline in northwest Mayo put them in contempt of court, received no sympathy from the President of the High Court, Justice Joseph Finnegan.”

Posted Monday 1 August 2005

Brendan Philbin, Willie Corduff, Micheál Ó Seighin and brothers Philip and Vincent McGrath, who have become collectively known as the Rossport Five, were back in court on Monday but the hearing was brief and they were quickly returned to prison.

The five, whose protests against Shell’s proposed gas pipeline in northwest Mayo put them in contempt of court, received no sympathy from the President of the High Court, Justice Joseph Finnegan.

Attempts were being made to make it easier for the five to purge their attempt. Shell gave an assurance that no further work would take place on the pipeline pending the outcome of the safety review commissioned by Minister for Communications and Natural Resources Noel Dempsey. This was deemed unacceptable by John Rodger SC, counsel for the Five, but that didn’t matter as Justice Finnegan found it unacceptable that the Five should seek the assistance of the court prior to purging their contempt.

A new commission was set up last weekend to monitor the Shell pipeline project. Minister for the Marine Noel Dempsey set up the commission, which is independent of the Petroleum Affairs Division, to monitor progress and safety issues surrounding the pipeline. The new commission will be led by Tom McManus, former chief technical officer in the Department of Public Enterprise, and will include a senior geologist, engineer, assistant principal officer and legal expert.

On Tuesday Shell announced that 35 workers at Rossport were being laid off by a subcontractor who had to suspend work on the site due to the ongoing protests. Later in the week a further 56 were laid off by another subcontractor.

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