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Irish Times: Legal action on Rossport camp initiated

Lorna Siggins, Western Correspondent, Irish Times
Published: Jul 23, 2007

Mayo County Council has initiated legal action against the Rossport solidarity camp which was established over two years ago to support opponents of the Corrib gas project.

An interim order against several named members of the camp was issued by the local authority on Friday night, and is due to be heard at Castlebar Circuit Court this morning.

The order was obtained under section 160 of the Planning and Development Act 2000, on the basis that the camp is “unauthorised”.

A Mayo County Council spokesman said the action was being taken after a “number” of complaints had been received, including one from the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS).

The spokesman said the NPWS was concerned about the impact of the camp on the sensitive dune system at Glengad.

The camp was established in June 2005 in support of the families of the five men for 94 days over their opposition to the Corrib gas pipeline.

Initially based at Rossport, the camp was then moved close to the foreshore at Glengad about 18 months ago. The camp is constructed of recycled material, uses composting for waste and solar panels provide power. A camp spokesman told The Irish Times that it had built up a very good relationship with the NPWS and with locals.

NPWS staff had visited it on a number of occasions and given advice on constructing pathways and minimising environmental impact on the machair dune system, he said.

John Monaghan of the Shell to Sea campaign said he was puzzled by Mayo County Council’s action. “The area is sensitive, but we don’t see why the camp should be moved when a destructive project involving a high pressure pipeline can run through,” Mr Monaghan said.

“The camp members have always been more responsible that the Corrib gas developers.” Shell E&P Ireland said that it had no comment as the issue was one for Mayo County Council.

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