Thursday, November 5, 2009

Setback for Shell in Mayo

End Mayo Gas RobberyShell Oil has been told to reroute part of the Corrib gas pipeline after planners ruled yesterday [Tuesday] that it posed a safety risk.

An Bord Pleanála found more than half of the 9km on-shore stretch, to carry unprocessed gas over bogland in north-west Mayo, must be altered because of the dangers to nearby homes.

The body ruled that information supplied by Shell was not a complete, transparent or adequate demonstration that the high-pressure pipeline did not pose an unacceptable risk to the public. The notorious multinational has been given three months to alter the route.

Homes near the 5.6 km stretch of pipeline near Rossport village are just 150 to 300 metres away. International best practice on the matter suggests that high-pressure pipes should be at least 300 metres away from homes.

Local campaigners welcomed the long overdue intervention of the Twenty-Six County state body on behalf of residents.

Shell to Sea activist Maura Harrington, who was recently released from Mountjoy jail, said: “What An Bord Pleanála have really shown is that the Corrib gas pipeline is not safe to be routed through our community or indeed any residential area.

Maura Harrington“Shell have consistently shown their inability and unwillingness to make this project safe.”

Pobail Cill Chomain spokesperson John Monaghan said planners had eventually stepped in after 10 years of fighting.

“It is clear that the project as proposed does not meet basic health and safety requirements as we have known all along,” he said.

“It’s long overdue recognition of the concerns but it’s worth noting that this is the first time the pipeline part of the project has been assessed by the planning process and it has failed that test.”

éirígí chairperson Brian Leeson said the findings proved that Shell was unfit to carry out the project.

“Shell Oil has an atrocious international record, littered with human rights abuses and ecological vandalism. That it took An Bord Pleanala a decade to recognise the potential for this outcome in Ireland is an indictment on the body.

“The fact remains that, whatever route changes Shell make to the pipeline, the company has no right to extract the gas from the Corrib basin. The gas there belongs to the people of Ireland and should be exploited for their benefit, not by a multinational company that will sell back that gas to the population at full cost.

éirígí Sligeach activist Gerry Casey also welcomed the decision but warned that the campaign was far from over.

"This is a vindication" he said "of those campaigners who have defied a concerted campaign of intimidation against them by the so-called forces of law and order in this state on behalf of Shell. Many of these campaigners have been jailed and have suffered assault as a result of their opposition to this pipeline. They are to be commended for remaining resolute in their opposition to Shell's plans."

"However, the campaign is far from over. Shell will be back and people will need to maintain and intensify their opposition to their plans for a pipeline in this area and the give-away of our natural resources to create profits for Shell at the expense of the Irish people."

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