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Irish Independent: Trouble-shooters named as Five spend fifth week in jail

Irish Independent: Trouble-shooters named as Five spend fifth week in jail

“The move comes as the “Rossport Five” spend their fifth week in jail for contempt of court over their opposition to Shell’s Corrib gas field pipeline.”

Thursday Aug 11, 2005

THE names of the experts who make up the Government’s Technical Advisory Group (TAG) for the controversial Corrib development were announced last night.

The move comes as the “Rossport Five” spend their fifth week in jail for contempt of court over their opposition to Shell’s Corrib gas field pipeline.

It also comes amid reports that 200 workers employed on the Co Mayo plant could lose their jobs.

Shell has also already announced that all off-shore pipeline work is to be temporarily suspended until “public discussion and dialogue” takes place.

The three-man advisory team, appointed by Communications, Marine and Natural Resources Minister Noel Dempsey will manage the independent safety review and the inspection and supervisory regime of the scheme.

The members are: Bob Hanna, chief technical advisor and energy installations inspector at the Department; Koen Verbruggen, senior geologist, Geological Survey of Ireland, and Richard McKeever, assistant chief engineer in the Department’s engineering division.

Last night, Mr Dempsey said the TAG would have legal advice available to it and be able to obtain general or specialist technical assistance to support its activities.

TAG would select the successful tender, manage the contract with the selected consultants, review the conclusions and recommendations of the consultants and make a submission to him.

It would also oversee a programme of inspection, with both regular and ‘on the spot’ checks by authorised officers and verify compliance with both the plan of development and the various Ministerial consents under which permission to carry out work are given.

The authorised officers would be empowered by the minister to enter into and inspect any work by the Corrib developers. They would be either appropriately qualified members of the department or other suitably qualified persons, where the relevant expertise was not available within the department.

Mr Dempsey said: “This new Technical Advisory Group addresses the twin concerns expressed to me by local people – that of the safety of the pipeline and the monitoring and inspection regime.

Also yesterday Mr Dempsey met with representatives of Shell and said afterwards that Shell had agreed “unreservedly” to requests he had made to them.

FRANK KHAN

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