Opposition to Shell’s inland refinery and high-pressure onshore pipeline in County Mayo will continue and escalate, environmental activists have said.
The ‘Shell to Sea’ campaign was responding to news that permission has been granted to Shell to lay the onshore pipeline carrying raw gas through the areas of Glengad, Pollathomais, Aughoose, Leenamore and Bellanaboy in the Erris peninsula.
Meanwhile, Shell’s foreshore licence to construct the tunnel through the Sruwaddacon estuary is still pending a decision by the Minister for the Environment.
Shell to Sea spokesperson Terence Conway said: “An Bord Pleanala [the planning board] commented in their report that this decision would benefit the people of Mayo and Ireland. However, the only people to benefit from this decision will be the shareholders of Shell, Statoil and Vermillion.
“The government’s own estimates are that there is at least 600 billion euro worth of oil and gas off Ireland’s coast, but it seems hell-bent on ensuring none of the benefits go the Irish people.”
Mr Conway condemned a recommendation by An Bord Pleanala that Shell create an 8.5 million euro ‘community fund’.
“The board still seems to to think our community can be bribed into accepting a project that places us in danger. This bribery fund would also be fully tax deductible for Shell under Ireland’s current oil and gas exploration licensing terms.”
Mr Conway said that in November 2009, An Bord Pleanala “turned from adjudicator into co-designers of this project, so it’s no surprise they approved the suggestion they made to Shell.”
He said “of course” protests would continue “and given the current economic situation we see our support growing everyday”.
Conservation group An Taisce also condemned the decision by An Bord Pleanala, which they said was “fundamentally flawed” and “a further nail in the coffin of proper regulation in Ireland”.
Meanwhile, campaigners at the Rossport Solidarity Camp called for supporters to come to the camp, and in particular, to come when it is confirmed that Shell are about to start work “which will probably be within the next 2 months”, a statement on their website said.