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Irish Independent: 'I'm prepared to die rather than let this pass by my home,' says defiant protester

'I'm prepared to die rather than let this pass by my home,' says defiant protester
Irish Independent; May 04, 2006

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THE Rossport Five's Willie Corduff is willing to die rather than allow the Corrib gas pipeline pass by his doorway.

And according to his wife, Mary, she'll go to jail too, along with hundreds of supporters, locally, nationally and internationally. “We're a great country for acknowledging our martyrs, so maybe the Government will be raising a plaque to me in another 50 years, because that's what I'm prepared to do – die,” said a defiant Mr Corduff from his home in Rossport last night.

“That pipe, no matter what the pressure, 245 bar or 144 bar, runs just a metre from my house.

“My 15-year-old daughter, Marie, would be crossing it on her way to school ever day,” Mr Corduff said.

He cited a gas leak near Clareabbey, Co Clare, on Tuesday as an example of the serious dangers of even a low-pressure gas leak.

“The gas in that pipe was only 4 bar and they still had to evacuate people from within a 200m radius,” said Mr Corduff. He also observed that, if the protest had not happened, the Government would have been quite happy to allow Shell pump gas onshore at the rate now deemed by Advatica to be unsafe.

Local blacksmith John Monaghan said: “There is only one thing I am certain of – that refinery or pipeline will never operate or be laid in north Mayo.

“This project is intrinsically flawed, it has been from the outset, and, on numerous moral grounds, we will stop it going ahead,” Mr Monaghan said.

Campaigners who have been vehemently opposed to the stretch of pipeline are unenthusiastic about the findings in yesterday's report, claiming that these latest findings fail to address the vital issue of the proximity of the pipeline to people's houses.

Dr Mark Garavan, spokesperson for the Shell to Sea Campaign, said last night that the report was “almost entirely irrelevant” as the terms of reference covering it gave it so narrow a brief that it had to conclude the pipeline was safe to do what it was meant to do.

Dr Garavan said that the reduction of pressure in the pipeline did not address the questions which had been posed.

“The primary concerns that people have about the placing of a production pipeline through a village and in close proximity to peoples' houses are the consequences of an accident.

“What has transpired in terms of the Advantica Report and the recommendations arising from that is entirely irrelevant to the resolution of the conflict.

“Essentially what we have is a kind of post hoc justification of a decision already made.”

Dr Garavan said that risk was a human emotion, a human feeling, and the perceptions of members of the community who would be directly affected would have to be taken into account.

“Over the course of six years of this conflict in north Mayo, the views and concerns of the local people have never been taken into account.

“We do not have a single incident over those six years where this project has been altered on foot of local concerns, and that is part of the problem.”

Aine Ryan and Tom Shiel

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