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The Mayo News (Ireland): Shell accused of ‘localising issue’

Shell accused of ‘localising issue’
Padraig Burns
THE appointment of former Chief Superintendent of the Mayo Garda Síochána, Mr John Carey (right), as as an advisor to the Corrib Gas project, has been described by the Shell to Sea campaign as a ‘strategic decision by Shell in an attempt to localise the issue’.
Dr Mark Garavan, spokesman for Shell to Sea, said the decision to appoint Mr Carey, which follows the recent appointment of journalist Christy Loftus, and former County Secretary, Padraig Hughes, as external advisors, did not affect the substantive issue of their campaign.
Dr Garavan said the group he represented did not comment on individual appointments within Shell, but he did admit that it appeared Shell had taken a strategic decision.
“If you look at the language they [Shell] have been using in their most recent press releases, you can see that they are implicitly conceding that they had lost a lot of trust locally in the area,” he told The Mayo News.
“Obviously, Shell have decided to take a strategic decision to localise the issue by their appointments in recent weeks, but they have still to address the substantive issue and until that happens we won’t be changing our approach.
“Shell must accept that the project as it stands is not viable and until that happens there can be no change. As it stands they have not indicated any change in their approach, the mediation is still stalled and there is still no sign of it restarting,” he said.
Mr Carey is a native of Bangor and his new role, which will be part-time, will see him meeting local groups and residents and conveying their hopes and concerns relating to the project to the Corrib management team. He will also be involved in informing people locally about the plans for the project as it moves forward.
His appointment has been welcomed by both Christy Loftus and the SEPIL Mayo Area Manager, Mr Mark Carrigy. Mr Loftus said John Carey will bring ‘invaluable local knowledge’ while Mr Carrigy said he was delighted that Mr Carey had agreed to assist the Corrib Gas partners as they work to regain the trust of the people of Erris and Mayo. Mr Carrigy admitted that the events of the past year had damaged the trust between the two parties.
John Carey served for nine years as Chief Superintendent of the Mayo Division and during his career he was also based in Galway, Roscommon, Laois and Offaly. He played Gaelic football for Mayo and became the first player from the county to be selected as an All-Star in 1971.

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