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Irish Independent: Rossport Five ‘should get payout from Shell’

Published: Apr 27, 2007

A PROGRESSIVE Democrat general election candidate has called on Shell to pay compensation to the Rossport Five.

Ballina-based Cllr Tommy Cooke broke his party’s silence on the controversy by saying Shell should also make a full public apology to the men, who spent 94 days in jail for their opposition to the routing of the Corrib Gas pipeline.

“In my opinion, it was a disgrace that they should end up in prison for what we’d all have done. They defended their rights and at this stage when everyone agrees, even Shell, that what was done wasn’t right, there should be an apology and compensation.”

He also called on Shell to set up a 50m investment fund for the North Mayo region, which would help pay for improvements to the N26 road between Foxford and Ballina.

“Shell should consider it as a gesture of goodwill. The project has caused enormous acrimony.” Although Cllr Cooke voiced his support for the men at the PD annual conference in 2005, other members of the party have been noticeably silent. But he said he did not believe that he was out of step with party policy.

“I would include Michael McDowell in it. Any fair thinking person would say these people should be treated a small bit better.”

Shell said that its managing director Andy Pyle had already apologized to the Rossport Five for the company’s role in their jailing.

Michael Brennan

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