Irish Republican News · August 7, 2005
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Shell accused of ‘red herring’

Shell Ireland has announced that it will not lay the offshore section of pipeline for the Corrib gas field until next year after heavy protests by local residents and environmentalists.

But five men jailed for their protests against the construction of the dangerous gas pipeline in County Mayo are to remain in prison.

The five were jailed over a month ago for refusing to abide by a High Court order preventing them for obstructing the construction of the high pressure pipeline from the Corrib gas field to an onshore refinery.

Shell last night announced it was deferring all work on the laying of the offshore pipeline to allow discussion on the future of the project.

The men known as the Rossport Five - Micheal O’Seighin, Willie Corduff, Brendan Philbin, and brothers Vincent and Philip McGrath - have pledged to remain in Dublin’s Cloverhill Prison until their concerns about the safety of the pipeline are addressed.

They want the gas to be refined offshore rather than transported along the pipeline beside their homes to the onshore refinery.

Mark Garavan, of the Shell to Sea protest group, said while Shell remained committed to building the pipeline, the men could not promise to facilitate the project.

The men felt they had to be able to resist works which may be carried out in the future, and so could not undertake not to protest against the pipeline’s construction, he said.

“The men are not there of their own volition: Shell got the injunction, Shell put them in prison, and it’s Shell that have got to get them out.”

Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald described Shell’s announcement as “a red-herring”.

“What people are most concerned about is the on-shore operation and a pipeline which will pose a real danger to the local community in Rossport. In actual fact campaigners are arguing that the pipeline should be based at sea, so Shell are not facilitating local people in any way by this latest announcement.

“Shell has said that they have suspended the work in order to allow for a period of discussion and dialogue. If they are genuine about meaningful dialogue, then they will seize the initiative and lift the injunction against the men in Clover Hill prison.

“These men have spent too long in prison already because of their honourable stance on this issue.”

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© 2005 Irish Republican News