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Irish Police ‘rescue’ four Shell terminal staff

Irish Times: GardaI ‘rescue’ four Shell terminal staff

“Extra gardaI were called to the Shell/Corrib Bellanaboy terminal site in Co Mayo yesterday when protesters refused to allow Shell company representatives to leave the compound.”: “The Norwegian Labour Party has made it clear that it wants no involvement by a Norwegian state company in such a scandal.”

Wednesday 14 Sept 2005

Lorna Siggins, Marine Correspondent

Sep 14, 2005

Extra gardaI were called to the Shell/Corrib Bellanaboy terminal site in Co Mayo yesterday when protesters refused to allow Shell company representatives to leave the compound.

Four company representatives had entered the site at about 5am yesterday before the Shell to Sea picket began at 6am.

The company confirmed that the representatives entered “early yesterday” to carry out essential environmental works which had been requested by Mayo County Council. The four had left the site by yesterday evening, the spokesman said. The jeep used by the four was still parked outside the terminal as pickets continued last night.

Ms Maura Harrington, Shell to Sea spokeswoman, said there were serious questions about the nature of the visit, which had not been overseen by representatives of the Corrib project monitoring committee.

She had contacted Mayo County Council and the North-West Regional Fisheries Board (NWRFB), as members of this committee, about the matter yesterday. “Shell’s representatives sneaked in and then sneaked out, and one has to ask why,” she said.

Mayo County Council was unavailable for comment, while Mr Vincent Roche, NWRFB chief executive, said that he expected the issue would be discussed at a project monitoring committee meeting today.

Shell E&P Ireland is due to meet Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny this week in the latest effort to break the impasse over the Corrib gas field development.

Shell chief executive Andy Pyle has agreed to hold talks with Mr Kenny, following the Fine Gael leader’s appeal to the company to lift its injunction against the five north Mayo men still in prison over their opposition to the Corrib gas onshore pipeline.

Mr Kenny had cited a legal precedent from 1977 (State v McCrann) which would allow the company to withdraw the interlocutory injunction without prejudicing any further legal action it would wish to take.

Two legal precedents have also been cited by Labour leader Pat Rabbitte in earlier attempts to resolve the situation, However, the company says its legal advice is that it cannot lift the injunction.

A company spokesman said it had taken a number of steps to allow the five men to purge their contempt, including suspending all work onshore and offshore, and a new safety review of the onshore pipeline was being prepared for the Minister for the Marine.

Lifting the injunction now might also put back the date for the High Court hearing of the full injunction, which is listed for October 4th, the spokesman said.

Shell to Sea spokesman Dr Mark Garavan has welcomed this week’s call by the Green Party for a full oral hearing into the onshore gas pipeline. However, Shell said that it believed the Minister’s safety review would allow a forum for all issues to be dealt with.

Labour Party spokesman RuairI Quinn yesterday welcomed the success of the Labour Party in the Norwegian general election this week, and said he had contacted his colleagues in Norway about Statoil’s role in the Corrib gas project situation.

“I have been assured that as soon as the new Norwegian government takes over in October, and hopefully before, Statoil’s involvement will be examined in detail,” Mr Quinn said.

“The Norwegian Labour Party has made it clear that it wants no involvement by a Norwegian state company in such a scandal.”

A delegation of families of the five imprisoned Mayo men is due to visit Norway next week with Mayo TD Dr Jerry Cowley (Ind) to highlight Statoil’s role.

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