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Shell receives complaint about impact of gas project’s haulage work

They say they are under “constant surveillance” by gardaí and Shell private security…

The Irish Times – Monday, April 2, 2012

LORNA SIGGINS, Western Correspondent

SHELL EP Ireland has confirmed it has received a copy of a “detailed complaint” compiled by a group of north Mayo residents regarding the impact of the Corrib gas project’s construction and haulage work.

The group has submitted 104 letters of complaint to Mayo County Council, with 112 signatures.

Copies have been sent to Shell, the Garda, the Private Security Authority of Ireland, Ministers and politicians, and several environmental and human rights organisations.

The residents of some communities along the Sruwaddacon estuary, a special area of conservation, say they face a daily scenario of convoys of “heavy goods vehicles, vans with blacked-out windows, police vehicles and construction traffic” along a rural road.

They say they are under “constant surveillance” by gardaí and Shell private security, and claim that people’s private hedgerows fencing off their land have been “deliberately destroyed by council operatives/private contractors employed by Mayo County Council” to facilitate the gas project.

Trees which have grown for years in severe weather have been “carelessly slashed”, and landowners were “neither consulted nor kept informed”, the joint complaint states, adding that the destruction was carried out “covertly”.

“If local people broke the law in that way they would be prosecuted, so the perpetrators should also be identified and prosecuted by Mayo County Council,” the letters state.

Shell EP Ireland told The Irish Times it was observing “several hundred conditions” attached to planning permissions and permits for the Corrib project.

“In addition to observing these conditions, we strive at all times to carry out our work in a way that has the least impact on the local community,” it said, and was “involved in ongoing dialogue with the local community”.

“We are always available to listen to concerns and to discuss ways in which any impacts our work may be having can be reduced further where feasible.”

It said its community liaison staff were available, and its freephone number was responded to 24 hours a day.

Residents have said the traffic-management plan drawn up for the construction work does not make reference to the large security escorts attached to delivery convoys using the road along the estuary.

The Garda and Mayo County Council had no comment on the complaints.


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