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Ireland On-Line: Rossport Five stay in prison

Ireland On-Line: Rossport Five stay in prison

“The company’s managing director Andy Pyle said: “We strongly feel that the only way we’re going to get a way through this is to have a period of calm – certainly more calm than there is at the moment – when we can have a proper dialogue and a proper discussion of the issues.”

Posted Saturday 6 August 2005

Five men jailed for their protests against the construction of a controversial gas pipeline in Co Mayo will remain in prison despite oil giant Shell’s announcement it was suspending work on the project, it emerged today.

The five men were jailed more than five weeks ago for refusing to abide by a High Court order preventing them for obstructing the construction of Shell’s high pressure pipeline from the Corrib gas field to an onshore refinery.

Shell last night announced it was deferring all work on the laying of a 75km offshore pipeline to allow discussion on the future of the €900m project.

The company’s managing director Andy Pyle said: “We strongly feel that the only way we’re going to get a way through this is to have a period of calm – certainly more calm than there is at the moment – when we can have a proper dialogue and a proper discussion of the issues.”

The men known as the Rossport Five – Micheal (correct) O’Seighin, Willie Corduff, Brendan Philbin, and brothers Vincent and Philip McGrath – have pledged to remain in Dublin’s Cloverhill Prison until their concerns about the safety of the pipeline are addressed.

They want the gas to be refined offshore rather than transported along the pipeline beside their homes to the onshore refinery.

Mark Garavan, of the Shell to Sea protest group, who visited the men in Cloverhill prison today, said while Shell remained committed to building the pipeline, the men could not purge their contempt.

The men felt they had to be able to resist works which may be carried out in the future, and so could not undertake not to protest against the pipeline’s construction, he said.

“The men are not there of their own volition: Shell got the injunction, Shell put them in prison, and it’s Shell that have got to get them out.

“The men are saying they feel the offshore suspension called by Shell should be seized on for a root and branch review of the whole project,” he said.

“Shell should prioritise the safety issues people have over the pipeline, and Minister Dempsey should assist on this point.”

Mr Garavan said the injunction should be stood down and the men released if Shell were serious about facilitating discussion over the issues.

“The men are under duress and cannot engage in discussin.

“No work is being done on the ground – it’s hard to see why there remains an injunction,” he said.

Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources Noel Dempsey has welcomed last night’s move by Shell and offered to appoint an intermediary to help the groups resolve the conflict.

Sinn Féin MEP and National Chairperson Mary Lou McDonald was unable to visit the men as planned today in Cloverhill Prison for administrative reasons, as they had used up all their visiting time.

http://breakingnews.iol.ie/news/story.asp?j=151722930&p=y5y7z3636

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