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The Mayo News: EU takes on Corrib controversy

Tuesday, 31 July 2007 
Áine Ryan

DR MARK GARAVAN was last week formally notified of the European Commission’s Environment Directorate’s intention to conduct a preliminary investigation into the Corrib gas project. Alleged breaches of several EU Directives were formally highlighted by Dr Garavan through the offices of the European Parliament’s Petitions Committee.

The former Shell to Sea spokesman has welcomed the efficiency of the EU’s response to the complaints, observing that the Irish Government seemed to be regularly in breach of directives which then resulted in significant fines.

“The fact that [Environment] Minister John Gormley, after a recent meeting in Europe, has indicated that the EU wants Ireland to comply with these directives and, more importantly that, as minister, he will oversee this compliance, is a positive step,” said Dr Garavan.   

Dr Garavan’s complaint claims the project is in breach of a number of EU directives, including the habitats directive, the Seveso directive, the water framework directive and directives relating to public consultation. Many of these issues were also strongly highlighted at the Environmental Protection Agency’s hearing some months ago.

Dr Garavan has continually claimed that ‘the project-splitting’ characteristic of the entire project has precluded a full environmental impact assessment of the project in its totality. The lack of a pipeline route further confounds this, he has said.

An Taisce is also preparing a separate case for the European Commission regarding the proximity of the Bellanaboy refinery to the main public drinking water supply for the Erris area at Carrowmore lake.

Meanwhile, Shell has this week advertised for positions for Production Operations and Maintenance Technicians for the proposed refinery at Bellanaboy. It has announced there will  be 25 positions available for people from a pharmaceutical, power generation, manufacturing, chemical or marine background.

“These jobs will provide outstanding challenges with the potential for international careers to the successful candidates. SEPIL [Shell Ireland] will provide full industry training, which will take place onsite in Ireland as well as in the UK and the Netherlands,” the statement said. “We look forward to receiving applications from people who enjoy working in a technologically advanced and challenging environment,” said Mr Terry Nolan.

The closing date for receipt of applications is August 31.

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