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Murray walks out in Rossport protest

The Mayo News Online: Murray walks out in Rossport protest

“A proposal by the Charlestown-based councillor that Mayo County Council call on Shell to lift its injunction on the five Rossport men currently incarcerated at Cloverhill was deemed out of order as it was not on the agenda.”

Posted Thursday 15 Sept 2005

Report by Stephen O’Grady

SINN Féin councillor Gerry Murray withdrew from the chamber of Mayo County Council on Monday evening when party whips Paddy McGuinness and Pat McHugh declined his request to suspend standing orders to debate a motion he wished to table.

A proposal by the Charlestown-based councillor that Mayo County Council call on Shell to lift its injunction on the five Rossport men currently incarcerated at Cloverhill was deemed out of order as it was not on the agenda.

Although the proposal received the support of Independent councillor Michael Holmes, who seconded it, and Labour’s Johnny Mee, it was widely rejected as of no added value to the progress that Mayo County Council has made on behalf of the Rossport Five.

An Cathaoirleach, Henry Kenny had earlier presented a detailed progress report in the wake of the council’s extraordinary meeting in August to address the controversy.

He outlined meetings with the Minister for Energy, Noel Dempsey, at his Meath home on the day after the extraordinary meeting, with Shell director, Andy Pyle, in Dublin on August 18, and with the five men at Clovehill on August 24.

He told last Monday’s monthly meeting of Mayo County Council that Minister Dempsey had been ‘keenly aware of the deliberation of Mayo County Council on the previous day’ and had recently indicated his availability and willingness to meet a council deputation for a second occasion.

Mr Pyle told Cllr Kenny, who was accompanied by party colleague, Cllr Paddy McGuinness, that Shell had ‘overlooked the importance of some issues that might arise over the laying of the pipeline’. While rejecting a proposal to refine the gas at sea as ‘not viable’, he had expressed a willingness to Cllr Kenny to consider other options such as pipeline depth or re-routing.

Cllr Kenny and Cllr McGuinness met with some resistance from angry members of the Rossport Five when they visited Cloverhill, but after a frank exchange of views the men indicated a willingness to examine options to bring the gas to Bellanaboy.

A further meeting with Andy Pyle brought a positive reaction in relation to seeking the men’s release by way of simultaneously collapsing the court injunction as the men purged their contempt. However, ‘serious legal impediments’ prevented progress in this respect.

Cllr Kenny also told the meeting that he had urged An Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern to exercise his acknowledged negotiation skills on the matter and not to remain aloof.

“I am determined to continue, and I will do what I can for the men. I believe this council has moved the process forward, and as a result all sides have dropped their ‘this way or no way’ attitude,” said Cllr Kenny.

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