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Irish Times: Council ‘committed’ to Corrib proposals

Lorna Siggins, Marine Correspondent
Published: Feb 03, 2007

Mayo County Council says that it is committed to implementing recommendations made by Government mediator Peter Cassells on the Corrib gas project in spite of its failure this week to strengthen community representation on a local monitoring group.

A meeting hosted by the local authority and the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources in Glenamoy to elect new community representatives ended in disarray, amid heated criticism of the procedures adopted.

The meeting was convened on foot of one of the Cassells recommendations last year in relation to strengthening community participation.

While Minister for the Marine Noel Dempsey has promised to transfer responsibility for national monitoring of the project to the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER), local monitoring is by way of a project monitoring committee (PMC) administered by Mayo County Council and a separate environmental monitoring group (EMG) administered by the department. The PMC’s focus is the gas terminal and the peat haulage route and deposition site for peat removed from Bellanaboy, while the EMG is concerned with the high-pressure pipeline, its landfall and near-shore work. The PMC comprises representatives of Shell and seven State agencies and has two community representatives – with only one currently serving.

The local authority and department plan is to extend community representation on both groups to three participants, elected from groups registered with the local authority’s community forum. However, Mary Corduff, of the Shell to Sea campaign, criticised the nomination procedures. “It is not democratic, but is intended to give that illusion,” she said.

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