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Fishermen ‘right to be concerned about mercury’

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Western People

SHELL is working on a submission for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding the discharge of water which will be separated from the gas, writes Marian Harrison. The company agreed with fishermen not to discharge the treated water into the Sruwaddacon Bay and are investigating alternative options before seeking permission from the EPA.

Meanwhile, a marine biologist who last week denied saying that people would die if the Corrib project went ahead, has now said local fishermen are right to be concerned about a release of mercury.

However, Dr Alex David Rogers from the Institute of Zoology has also stressed that death only takes place in extreme cases of mercury contamination. He said any mercury released from the Corrib project must be placed into context in terms of the levels released, its chemical speculation and its subsequent behaviour in the environment.

“Obviously a low level of mercury in the environment will pose a low level of risk.

The residents who fish in the area are correct to be concerned about any installation that potentially will release mercury into the local environment and it is their right to demand the highest quality evaluation of this project and the highest environmental standards in its execution,” he said.

The biologist said the project’s impact on areas, designated as protected because of their importance to wildlife, was also an area of concern.

Dr Rogers said he was “utterly appalled” to hear that heavy sentences had been handed down to the residents of Erris for “what are apparently very minor offences” which occurred during protests regarding the Corrib development.

“Although I’m not familiar with the full details of the case. It concerns me that in Ireland, a country that has traditionally valued freedom and personal expression, this can happen to a group of people who are legitimately concerned about the development that will have a major impact on their community”

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Related Western People Article: Banner held aloft in America for jailed ‘Chief’

A BANNER supporting the release of Pat ‘The Chief’ O’Donnell was carried in a St Patrick’s Day parade in America last week, writes Marian Harrison.

The Shell to Sea campaign was brought to the streets of Queens on March 7 as locals with Irish roots celebrated the holiday.

A Shell to Sea spokesperson said the response to the banner was heartwarming.

“A surprising number of people had already heard about the unlawful jailing of The Chief O’Donnell and said that they would stay in touch and help with the campaign in America.

Meanwhile, Frances Black was among the musicians to take part in a session outside Castlerea Prison in support of Mr O’Donnell at the weekend.

Shell to Sea spokesperson Terence Conway said there was a “good show of support” outside the prison on Saturday afternoon with locals stopping by and bringing sandwiches for the protesters.

Mr O’Donnell was jailed on February 11 for obstructing Gardai.

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