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Erris water in danger due to Corrib gas project 4

Western People: Erris water in danger due to Corrib gas project 4

Posted 15 Sept 2005

Mayo County Council has this week confirmed that Erris’ water supply is in danger due to untreated water on the Corrib gas development sites.

But protestors at Shell E&P Ireland’s compounds in Ballinaboy are still refusing to allow company and County Council personnel access to the sites. They want the matter to be dealt with by the Project Monitoring Committee.

Mayo Co Council wrote to SEPIL last Thursday, September 8 highlighting the danger to local waterways if environmental works are not carried out on ponds holding water containing tiny particles in suspension at the Bellenaboy gas terminal development site.

It is feared that these ponds will overflow in increasingly wet weather conditions and contaminate the local water supply and fisheries.

SEPIL maintains that it has been trying to carry out the necessary environmental works to combat this but has been prevented from doing so by protestors for the last three weeks.

Mark Carrigy, Operations Manager, Corrib Gas Project, noted that Mayo Co Council had now confirmed that the local water ways were under threat of pollution.

He said: “We have met with the protestors on three occasion and brought one of them on site to view the necessary environmental works. Mayo County Council representatives have also tried to access the site on a seperate occasion.

“Unfortunately the protestors have prevented both Mayo Co Council and SEPIL from accessing the site as they maintain that the environmental works are not urgent or necessary. We are concerned that a small group of objectors are prepared to risk the pollution of local waterways in order to further their campaign. Such actions can in no way assist the resolution of the current situation,” Mr Carrigy said.

Mark Garavan, spokesperson for the Shell-to-Sea campaign stressed that they protestors had no intention of harming anyone. They were simply asking that the Corrib Project Monitoring Committee deal with the suspected water pollution threat by drafting a report immediately and holding a public meeting to outline and discuss the problems with local people.

“Then we will facilitate anything that protects the environment and public water. We are not in the business of harming anyone. Shell are trying to link us with a threat to the water supply. That is inherent in the kind of work they are doing,” Dr Garavan said.

The Corrib Project Monitoring Committee is chaired by Mayo Co Manager, Mr Des Moran. He was not available yesterday to comment on Shell-to-Sea’s call for report from the committee.

But PMC member, Nicholas Whyte. who was publicly elected to represent local communities on the Committee, told the Western People that the PMC is due to meet tomorrow, Wednesday, September 14. All issues will be discussed at the meeting. Minutes from the meeting will be posted on Mayo Co Council’s website.

Concerns in relation to the threat posed to the Erris water supply were first raised by two members of the Corrib Project Monitoring Committee.

Nicholas Whyte, Carrowmore and Gerard McDonnell, Aughoose, wrote to the Western People appealing to the public to try to ensure that the Committee’s work is carried out unhindered so that the water supply can remain unpolluted.

They have issued the following statement outlining their involvement in the Project Monitoring Committee:

“As part of An Bord Pleanala’s decision to grant planning permission for the construction of the new gas terminal at Bellanaboy they stipulated that a Committee be formed to monitor all aspects of the terminal construction including works in relation to peat transport and deposition at Shramore together with any road improvements that may be required. This committee was set up to monitor the above and does not have anything to do with the upstream pipeline from the terminal site out to Broadhaven Bay which is being monitored by a separate committee under the auspices of the Department of the Marine. “In addition to the representatives from all of the relevant statutory bodies, the committee was also to include two representatives from local community groups. Mayo Co Council notified local community organisations in the area and an election was held in Glenamoy in January of this year. Nicholas Whyte, who lives in Carrowmore and Gerard McDonnell who lives in Aughoose were elected by the local community groups to represent the local community on the Project Monitoring Committee.

“We have attended the monthly meetings of the PMC and voiced concerns which have been raised by local individuals or groups in addition to asking relevant questions on issues and information at the monthly meetings. Information pertaining to the activities of the Committee is available on the Mayo Co Council website. In addition to our attendance at the PMC meetings, we have also been active in the communities, collating information on problems and discussing courses of action in order to try to resolve problems as they occur and to provide a voice for the communities at all levels.

“In addition to our other activities, we have also organised two public meetings in Glenamoy in April and June of this year to report back to the communities on our progress and to provide an opportunity for those community groups to give us feedback and provide comment on our performance.

“We would like to point out that because we are representatives for all of the communities, we see that it is our responsibility to provide representation for people who are pro the Corrib Gas Project m anti the Corrib Gas Project and those who have no opinion. It is therefore essential that Western People readers understand that we cannot let our actions or our activities be in any way influenced by our own personal opinions.”

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