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Protester leaves Corrib hearing

Thursday, May 21, 2009

MARIAN HARRISON

A CORRIB gas protester removed himself from the oral hearing of An Bord Pleanála on the modified pipeline, branding it “nonsense” after the board’s chairman refused to entertain a submission on its jurisdiction.

Edward Moran was the third local resident to leave the Belmullet hearing after telling the board that Shell had commenced work on the onshore section at Glengad, which was above the high water mark, encroaching on the board’s jurisdiction.

Chairman Martin Nolan refused to entertain Mr Moran’s intervention, saying he would have an opportunity during the second week of the hearing to raise issues. However, he did say the board was looking after the area from the high water mark to the Corrib terminal at Bellanaboy.

Mr Moran said he would return to the hearing next week to make his point.

Landowners Bríd McGarry and Brendan Philbin of the Rossport Five group withdrew from the hearing on Tuesday over the same issue.

Local resident Imelda Moran also sought unsuccessfully for the Environmental Protection Agency and Health and Safety Authority to be put on notice to attend the hearing. Neither body made submissions to the board, she said.

The stability of peat along the proposed route, the need for a compulsory acquisition order (CAO) and the proposed construction methodology were all dealt with on day two of the hearing.

After taking a walkover survey and the results of a stability assessment into consideration, Geotechnical expert Turlough Johnston of Applied Ground Engineering Consultants (AGEC) said the pipeline could be “safely constructed” along the proposed route. He identified “no evidence of peat failure” that would pose a risk to the route.

AGEC provided specialist geotechnical advice on the landslides at Pollathomas in 2004.

The hearing continues today.

This article appears in the print edition of the Irish Times

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