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Mayo News: No consent possible – Shell to Sea

By Áine Ryan

SHELL has been accused of not addressing the ‘real possibility’ that an onshore pipeline route ‘will never be agreed upon’ by the people of north Mayo.

The Shell to Sea campaign made the accusation after the company distributed a newsletter to  households in the area last week. The newsletter details the proposed consultation process which is expected to last up to a year.  

“We acknowledge that our previous attempts to agree an acceptable route with landowners were not adequate,” stated SEPIL’s Deputy Managing Director, Mr Terry Nolan, on the newsletter’s first page.

The  process will involve consultation with landowners, the wider community, as well as discussions with statutory bodies and the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement.

However, anti-pipeline campaigners questioned the company’s move, said Shell to Sea spokesman, Dr Mark Garavan. “What, though, if there is no consent? Shell and Minister Dempsey are in denial about the level of support for our campaign, which is shown by the hundreds of citizens presently signing a petition against the project and, moreover, by the 120 people who picketed Shell’s proposed refinery last Tuesday morning [September 12],” said Dr Garavan.

A rumour in north Mayo that work on the proposed terminal at Bellanaboy was due to resume last Tuesday had proved unfounded. A Shell spokeswoman confirmed to The Mayo News yesterday that work will recommence at Bellanaboy during September. “The project has been on hold for over a year, it is time to move on with it,” said Louise McMahon, who declined to specify a precise restart date.

A spokesman for the Department of Marine and Natural Resources would not verify if Shell had  given  notice of an intention to resume work. “We can only confirm that Shell are required to give us at least 48 hours’ notice before resuming work. It’s up to the company to state whether they have given notice to the department,” he said.

Dr Garavan claims that Shell is once again using double-speak by presenting the construction of the terminal as a fait accompli while presenting an extended consultation process for a revised pipeline route. “Consequently, nobody believes in this so-called consultation process  because they are simultaneously pushing ahead with the refinery,” said Garavan.

On the other hand Shell contends it’s about simple logistics. “The construction schedule at Bellanaboy involves two years whereas the building of the onshore pipeline will only take one season,” said Shell’s Lousie McMahon.

Ms McMahon would not confirm or deny whether Shell commissioned the recent Millward Brown telephone poll carried out in north mayo. She said: “We never comment on any research we may, or may not, carry out.”

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