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Irish Times: FF chair of committee denies he is avoiding Shell issue

Irish Times: FF chair of committee denies he is avoiding Shell issue

“Meanwhile, a senior Shell executive has apologised for describing the proposed trip to Norway by Dr Jerry Cowley (Ind) as “a junket”. Corrib gas project manager Mark Carrigy said he regretted using the term in an interview on Mid West Radio.”

Lorna Siggins, Marine Correspondent

Sep 10, 2005

Fianna Fail’s Noel O’Flynn, chair of the Oireachtas Committee on Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, rejected a Labour Party claim that he is avoiding convening a meeting on the Shell Corrib gas issue.

Mr O’Flynn was responding yesterday to criticism of him by one of the Oireachtas committee members, Labour TD Tommy Broughan, who has accused him of “running away” from the issue.

Relatives of the five imprisoned north Mayo men and the Shell to Sea campaign are to travel to Norway next week with Mayo TD Jerry Cowley. The group plans to raise Statoil’s role in the row, given that the company is a shareholder of Shell and Marathon in the gas field.

Mr Broughan, Labour’s energy and marine spokesman, claimed that since late July he had repeatedly requested a meeting of the Oireachtas committee to discuss the imprisonment of the men over their opposition to the onshore pipeline.

“Sadly, Mr O’Flynn has declined to convene this urgent and necessary meeting,” he said.

The meeting would hear from the men’s families, Minister for the Marine Noel Dempsey, Shell and Statoil, and members of the Shell to Sea campaign, Mr Broughan said.

“The chairperson’s lethargy on this matter contrasts strongly with his colleagues on the Oireachtas Committee on Enterprise and Small Business, who quickly hauled officials from the Central Statistics Office into the Dail last week in a bid to discredit statistics used in Eddie Hobbs’s successful Rip Off Republic programme,” Mr Broughan said.

Mr O’Flynn said he was disappointed in the deputy’s comments as Mr Broughan had been at a meeting of the Oireachtas committee on July 26th, where members were given legal advice that the committee could not discuss the matter while the men were in contempt of court.

Meanwhile, a senior Shell executive has apologised for describing the proposed trip to Norway by Dr Jerry Cowley (Ind) as “a junket”. Corrib gas project manager Mark Carrigy said he regretted using the term in an interview on Mid West Radio. “I retract the suggestion that the trip was to be paid for by someone else,” he said. Dr Cowley said he was paying for the trip himself.

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