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Irish Independent: UK safety firm hired to check Corrib pipeline

Irish Independent: UK safety firm hired to check Corrib pipeline

“Five men from Rossport have now spent seven weeks in jail for contempt of court arising from their opposition to the pipeline. The Labour Party reiterated its call to Shell to lift the injunction against them.”

Friday August 26, 2005

By Brian Dowling

Political Correspondent

A BRITISH based company specialising in technology risk assessment has been appointed to conduct an independent safety review of the controversial Corrib Gas onshore pipeline in Co Mayo.

The latest move came amid renewed calls for the so-called Rossport Five, the men jailed for protesting against the pipeline, to be released from prison.

Marine and Natural Resources Minister Noel Dempsey last night confirmed that the company, Advantica, had been appointed to conduct the study following a tender process. He ordered the review after concerns by local people about the safety of the 9km pipeline.

Five men from Rossport have now spent seven weeks in jail for contempt of court arising from their opposition to the pipeline. The Labour Party reiterated its call to Shell to lift the injunction against them.

Advantica will critically examine documents and make conclusions on whether or not the proposed installations will be of appropriate standards, with proper codes of practice, regulations and operating procedures.

It will also determine whether the proposed installations comply with recognised international best practice, whether they will deliver a facility fit for its purpose and identify any deficiencies.

Mr Dempsey said Advantica has previously worked for Shell involving hazard and risk assessment. Advantica was not currently seeking work from Shell, and was in competition with Shell’s own consultancy subsidiary for much of its business, he said.

The Minister hopes to have a report from Advantica, a wholly-owned but independent consultancy subsidiary of National Grid Transco UK within four to six weeks.

At the Humbert Summer School in Ballina yesterday, Labour’s environment spokesman Eamon Gilmore called on Shell to collapse its injunction again the Rossport Five and to allow the men to be released.

Mr Gilmore said: “These normally law-abiding citizens have now spent more than two months in jail in pursuit of a campaign to defend the health and safety of their families and communities. It is long past the time when they should be released.”

He maintained the responsibility for their continued imprisonment rested with Shell as they were committed for contempt of court arising from a civil injunction sought and obtained by Shell.

There was nothing to prevent Shell from waiving the injunction as the circumstances had significantly changed.

Mr Gilmore said Shell’s apparent concern that, if released, the men would resume their protest was groundless because the work against which they were protesting had now been stopped.

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