Irish Republican News · August 25, 2005
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Shell urged to lift injunction

The daughter of one of five Mayo men jailed for opposing a high-pressure Shell gaspipe line tonight dismissed the oil giant’s latest statement as a publicity stunt.

The five Mayo men have been in a Dublin prison for 50 days after they refused to obey a High Court injunction, obtained by Shell, to stop obstructing the construction of a controversial gas pipeline on their lands.

Pickets are to be placed on selected fuel stations later today [Thursday] as opponents of the proposed pipeline step up their campaign against the project. Statoil, a Norwegian company, is a junior partner to Shell in the project.

The oil companies wish to pump untreated gas from the offshore Corrib gas field to an onshore refinery at Rossport, County Mayo. Opponents of the plan fear an explosive gas leak and want Shell to refine the gas at sea, as is the normal practice for the industry.

Speaking at a rally in Dublin last night Ms Brid Ni Seighin said the plan was to convince Statoil it should withdraw “from the consortium proposing to pump dangerous, untreated gas along an untested pipeline built on unstable bogland”.

Ms Ni Seighin, a daughter of Micheal O Seighin one of the five men jailed since June 29th last, also said the ‘Shell to Sea’ campaign was planning a blockade of the Statoil premises in Dublin docks on September 10th.

This would be followed by “the biggest mobilisation possible” outside the Dail on October 1st.

Ms Ni Seighin showed slides illustrating the path of the proposed pipeline alongside the edge of a local road. She also cited British standards for such pipelines which recommended pipes be kept a minimum of 170 metres from settlements, and US standards which recommended the pipes be kept 295 metres away from settlements.

She said the area inside these boundaries was defined as the “kill area” in the event of an explosion. The Mayo pipeline she added would be set just 1.2 metres into the ground, running alongside the road.

The ‘Rossport Five’ had reiterated their offer, initially made in an open letter from the jail last week, to purge their contempt and engage in dialogue with Shell if the injunction was lifted.

In a statement today, Shell said it appreciated the offer, but said it could not lift the injunction which led to the men’s imprisonment.

Dr Mark Garavan, spokesman for the five men, said only way forward is for Shell to lift the injunction. “If they are prepared to listen to local concerns and reconfigure the project in the light of [safety] concerns then we have cause some hope.”

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© 2005 Irish Republican News