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Irish Times: TD accuses Taoiseach over Shell gas dispute

Irish Times: TD accuses Taoiseach over Shell gas dispute

“Mayo TD Dr Jerry Cowley (Ind) has accused Taoiseach Bertie Ahern of “missing the point” over the continued imprisonment of the five Mayo men opposed to the Corrib gas onshore pipeline.”

Tuesday 6 Sept 2005

Lorna Siggins, Marine Correspondent

Sep 06, 2005

Mayo TD Dr Jerry Cowley (Ind) has accused Taoiseach Bertie Ahern of “missing the point” over the continued imprisonment of the five Mayo men opposed to the Corrib gas onshore pipeline.

Dr Cowley, who is one of a delegation of Independent TDs meeting the Norwegian ambassador to Ireland today over the issue, said he was disappointed at remarks made by the Taoiseach in Ennis, Co Clare, at the weekend.

Speaking in Ennis, Mr Ahern told reporters that the five men had made their point “many weeks ago”, and “for their families’ sake they are not actually making any further point by staying in jail”.

Mr Ahern said Minister for the Marine Noel Dempsey had “literally stood on his head all summer” to assure the men and their families that their safety concerns about the high pressure pipeline would be taken into account.

Dr Cowley said the Taoiseach did not seem to realise that it was up to Shell E&P Ireland to lift the injunction before such a move could take place.

“If the men were to purge their contempt now, without having been given any real assurance, they would be losing their right to protest over something which poses a very real risk to them, their families and many living in this area,” Dr Cowley said.

The latest safety review, commissioned by Mr Dempsey, was the third review which was being conducted by a company with links to Shell, Dr Cowley claimed. He believed it did not have adequate terms of reference.

He is due to meet Norwegian ambassador Truls Hanevold in Dublin today on the issue of Statoil’s involvement with the Corrib field. Statoil and Marathon are partners with Shell in the project.

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