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Western People: Christy and Padraig join Shell’s campaign in Erris

SHELL’S campaign to locate a controversial gas terminal at Bellanaboy in North Mayo took another twist at the weekend when it emerged that Western People journalist and columnist, Mr Christy Loftus, is to take up a position with the company.
Mr Loftus, a former President of the National Union of Journalists and a former Chairman of Mayo Co Board, has been appointed as external affairs advisor to Shell in Mayo. He is due to take up his new position in early March and will work out of the company’s main office in Bangor.
A native of Newport, Mr Loftus began his career with the Westport-based Mayo News before taking up a position with the Western People in the late 1970s. He is a founding member and chairman of the South West Mayo Development Company and a member of the Board of Meitheal Mhaigh Eo. He was also a member of the Mayo 2000 lobby group which campaigned in the late 1990s to bring the Corrib Gas find ashore in Mayo and lobbied for Objective 1 status for the western counties.
Commenting on the appointment, Mr James Laffey, Editor of the Western People, said Christy had been a loyal staff member for the past 28 years and he wished him the very best in his new role.
“Christy contributed a lot to the Western People during his career and I want to thank him for his long service. He is taking up a very challenging position but I have no doubt he will thrive in his new role.”
Christy Loftus said he was under no illusions about the mammoth task that Shell faced in Erris.
“I have been a supporter of bringing Corrib gas ashore in Mayo since the find was first discovered. To say that the project is bogged down at the moment is a major under-statement. Shell recognises that it has a huge amount of work to do to re-build the trust and confidence of the people in Rossport and the wider community in Erris. I hope I can play some role in helping to restore trust, re-build relationships and support Shell’s goal to work in partnership with the local community.”
Meanwhile, Shell E&P Ireland has also confirmed that it has employed the services of former County Secretary, Mr Padraig Hughes. Mr Hughes was Mayo County Secretary when the project was first mooted in the late 1990s and he has been working for Shell in a freelance capacity since the beginning of 2006.
Shell has also employed the services of former BBC journalist, John Egan, who is a native of Castlebar. Mr Egan, who took up his position shortly before Christmas, has been given the title External Affairs Manager.

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