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Fishermen accused of ‘taking Shell’s shilling’ resign from EIFA

Mayo Advertiser 22 August 2008, Page 4

Fishermen accused of ‘taking Shell’s shilling’ resign from EIFA

Between eight and ten Erris fishermen have not signed up to the agreement Shell have reached with the Erris Inshore Fishermen’s Association and will continue to exercise their rights to fish in Broadhaven Bay.

One such fisherman has protested in the strongest terms against a statement issued by the Corrib Gas Partners last week which stated that the EIFA and the partners had signed the final paperwork for their agreement and agreed a compensation package.

Mr Patrick O’Donnell told the Mayo Advertiser that the statement gave a “totally misleading view” of recent events surrounding the Corrib gas project and added that he has been forced to resign from the EIFA to maintain his lawful fishing rights.

“We will be exercising our rights to fish when the Solitaire comes in. We have a licence to fish and we have been fishing here for generations. If they want to move us they will have to get a court injunction,” he warned this week.

SEPIL, in a statement, said fishermen who do not normally fish in the prescribed pipeline corridor will be paid to forego the right to fish along the pipeline corridor for the duration of this year’s offshore development programme, while fishermen who have regularly fished along the prescribed pipeline corridor will be paid an additional amount to compensate for their loss of earnings during this year’s programme of works.

Mr O’Donnell, who is from the Shore, Porturlin, said he had been subjected to comments from several people in the area, “some of which were very distressing to myself and my family,” and he added that among other things he had been accused of “taking Shell’s shilling” since the statement was published.

He continued: “For the record, as a result of the attempts by Shell to bribe the fishing community into accepting their flawed project, my son and I have been forced to resign from the EIFA to maintain our lawful fishing rights. Also, it should be noted that not all EIFA members have agreed to either the offered compensation framework or produced water discharge suggestion. Indeed, a significant proportion of the remaining members have not accepted any offer from Corrib partners Shell, Statoil and Marathon.”

Mr O’Donnell claimed that “the current attempt by Shell to give the false impression of consent from the fishermen is identical to the situation in 2005 with the good people of Rossport, and the same deceptive tactics are being used to try and fool the general public and put neighbour against neighbour.”

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