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RTE News (Ireland): Shell regrets role in jailing of five Mayo men

Shell regrets role in jailing of five Mayo men

 

04 May 2006 17:10

 

Shell Ireland has said it regrets the part it played in the jailing of five men who protested against the construction of the Corrib gas pipeline in Co Mayo.

 

The company's Managing Director, Andy Pyle, said that mistakes had been made in the handling of the affair and apologised for any hurt that the imprisonment of the men had caused the local community.

 

He also said that the company was prepared to sit down with local people to discuss all options regarding the future of the construction of the pipeline.

 

Mr Pyle said that the only way the controversial project could continue was with the partnership of local people.

 

His comments came in a statement welcoming the publication of the final report of the independent safety review on the project.

 

The energy company said it accepted all its recommendations.

 

The Shell to Sea campaign group said that it is considering the statements made by Mr Pyle.

 

Spokesman Dr Mark Garavan said that 'if Shell was genuine and if they were at long last signalling that they were taking on board local concerns with a view to reconsidering the project then that certainly offers a possibility of a breakthrough.

 

'If on the other hand they are engaged in a PR-driven exercise then they are in effect playing with people's emotions and really after six years of conflict that would be unforgivable at this stage.'

 

He said that 'what we have said all along is that we need to get real, we need to work together to solve this problem, we need to meet the concerns of all sides, so we need Shell to get the project to market and we need guarantees over safety. The two sides are surely capable of bringing that about together'.

 

Micheál Ó Seighin, one of the five Rossport men who was jailed for 94 days last year, said he welcomed Mr Pyle's apology for the company's role in having put the men in jail last year. 

 

He said it must be very difficult for Mr Pyle to make such a statement and he genuinely welcomed it.

 

 

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