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The Sunday Times: Letters to the Editor: Gas pipeline won’t help Mayo

July 23, 2006 
 
YOU suggest Mayo will lose out if the current difficulties with the Corrib gas pipeline are unresolved (Editorial, last week). While I agree that aspects of the protest have unfortunately been hijacked, I find it difficult to embrace the supposed benefits suggested by Shell and echoed by yourselves and our own local authority.

Yes there has been some short-term employment and windfalls for local construction works. Some landowners have been compensated for access to their lands and will continue to receive ground rent after the project’s completion. Shell says 30 to 50 jobs will be created at the Bellanaboy terminal, and it has contributed to the coffers of Mayo county council for the upgrading of a stretch of road on which thousands of tonnes of peat are being transported for the clearing of the Bellanaboy site. 
 
But for the majority, the pipeline is merely passing through our county taking gas to other parts of the country without being piped to any of our own towns or fuelling any local industry. The most tangible evidence of the pipeline’s progress are the miles of potholed roads.

Peter Jordan
Castlebar, Co Mayo

NO JOBS FOR ALL: Your prediction of “hundreds” of jobs is off by, well, several hundred. Operation of the terminal requires 60 staff working three shifts, which would explain the facility’s car park having only 25 spaces. As most of these positions will be highly specialised, few will be filled by Mayo residents.

The stalemate is not due to new and extravagant demands by the Shell to Sea campaign group. Moving the refinery offshore has always been its primary goal. As reports by Advantica and the Centre for Public Inquiry show, the pipeline is too dangerous to be acceptable. You label protesters as “left-wingers” and other dastardly terms. Support for Shell to Sea spans virtually all Irish political parties. Support comes from the everyday Irish who recognise a threat, who insist on fair play with their natural resources and who refuse to be steamrollered by multinationals.

Dennis Desmond
Dublin

NATIONAL ISSUE: You refer to “the infiltration of the Mayo protests by Sinn Fein activists, self-styled eco-warriors and professional protesters from outside the area”. I wouldn’t call it infiltration. A recent table quiz held in Dublin to raise money for the Shell to Sea campaign had rounds sponsored by the Labour party, the Workers party, the Socialist party, the Amalgamated Transport & General Workers Union, the Independent Workers Union, Eirigi, the Irish Socialist Network, Siptu and Sinn Fein. Prizes were donated by businesses all over Dublin.

The Shell to Sea campaign is not simply about a multinational company putting its profits before the safety concerns of the local community, but also the desire of the Irish people to get a fair deal from the exploitation of their natural resources.

Brid Ni Sheighin
Rossport, Co Mayo

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