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Irish Times: Judge rejects pipeline claim against Shell

Irish Times: Judge rejects pipeline claim against Shell

“Yesterday, Mr Justice Finnegan rejected claims by the Rossport Five Campaign that Shell had breached an undertaking to the court that it would not carry out works on lands owned by three of the five and other parties which were linked to the pipeline development.”

Thursday Oct 20, 2005

The president of the High Court yesterday declared he was satisfied Shell had carried out no unauthorised works on lands owned by some of the Rossport Five, who were jailed for breach of court orders made after they objected to works linked to the installation of the high-pressure Corrib gas pipeline.

However, the issue of whether there were unauthorised works by Shell relating to the laying and welding of pipes on other lands was a matter between the company and the Minister for the Marine, Mr Justice Joseph Finnegan said. This issue was not one before the court.

Yesterday, Mr Justice Finnegan rejected claims by the Rossport Five Campaign that Shell had breached an undertaking to the court that it would not carry out works on lands owned by three of the five and other parties which were linked to the pipeline development.

The judge had asked for an explanation from Shell E &’ P Ireland Ltd after it was claimed by six local people, including three of the five men, that the undertaking was not being observed.

After reading affidavits on behalf of the company, the judge said he was satisfied no unauthorised works had been carried out on the lands in question.

These included lands of three of the five Co Mayo men who spent over 90 days in jail this summer for contempt of court orders restraining interference with the pipeline development.

The judge said he was satisfied there was no breach of an undertaking made to the court by Shell last April.

Yesterday’s hearing arose after work was carried out to weld a section of the pipeline on Coillte lands near the lands owned by the Rossport Five.

The five men are due back in the High Court next week to hear of any sanction they may receive arising out of the finding they were in contempt of court.

In an affidavit for yesterday’s hearing, Shell managing director Andrew Pyle said he wished to make it clear that at no time did the company consciously or deliberately breach its undertaking to the court.

He said a decision was taken to start welding the pipeline on Coillte lands and this work started in the first week in June.

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