Irish Republican News · January 21, 2011
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Shell wins permission for new Corrib Gas plan

Environmental campaigners have said that their opposition will escalate following a planning ruling that approved revised plans by Shell E&P for a hugely contentious inland refinery and high-pressure onshore pipeline in County Mayo.

A recommendation by the planning inspector that an 8.5 million euro “community gain investment fund” be paid over five years by Shell and partners to Mayo County Council has angered local residents.

Mary Corduff, whose husband Willie was one of five men jailed over opposition to the pipeline in 2005, said she was surprised the inspector did not recognise that “trying to buy support with money will never solve this issue”. This fund could be written off by Shell against tax, she said.

She also expressed concern that monitoring of the pipeline’s operation had been given to Mayo County Council, which “approved this project way back when it was clearly not safe to do so”.

Ms Corduff added: “We will only have Shell’s word for it that the pipeline operating pressure will be limited.”

The inspector has ruled that maximum allowable operating pressure onshore will be 150 bar upstream of the landfall valve installation at Glengad, and 100 bar downstream. However, even the recommended pressures remain far in excess of typical operating pressures for an onshore gas pipeline.

The spokesman for the community group Pobal Chill Chomain, John Monaghan said conditions set would allow for expansion of the Corrib gas infrastructure, as “residents had always feared”.

Conservation group An Taisce said the decision was “fundamentally legally flawed”, flew in the face of EU law, and failed to properly take account of the legislative requirements of the EU Habitats, Birds and Environmental Impact Assessment directives.

Its chairman, Charles Stanley-Smith, said the two Green Party ministers with Corrib decisions on their desks should “refuse” them.

Former engineering manager of the Bord Gais energy company Leo Corcoran, who acted as consultant to Pobal Chill Chomain, said Glengad was still the “weak link” in the project.

He did not believe An Bord Pleanala had “any legal basis” for exempting the landfall valve installation at Glengad from planning permission.

Residents at Ballinaboy, who had originally opposed the planning application for the gas terminal, did not object to the route.

However, resident Jacinta Healy said yesterday she was “very saddened” by the decision.”If we had had more support initially when the gas terminal was being opposed - things might be very different today,” Ms Healy said.

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