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The Mayo News Online (Ireland): Shell’s ‘mixed messages’ uncertainty

Shell’s ‘mixed messages’ uncertainty


Stephen O’Grady

SHELL E&P Ireland Ltd has been accused of sending out ‘mixed messages’ and ‘playing games’ with the people of Mayo, in the wake of last Wednesday’s publication of the Advantica report on the Corrib gas pipeline.

Following the positive reaction to comments made by Mr Andy Pyle on Thursday, when he appeared to suggest that an alternative route would be considered for the controversial pipeline, Shell’s Managing Director subsequently retreated from this position, describing the possibility of an alternative route as ‘speculation’ on Friday. Mr Pyle also appeared to rule out definitively the off-shore option pursued by Shell to Sea campaigners, during a media briefing on Friday, when he also indicated that the company would continue to pursue injunction hearings against anyone protesting against the location of the pipeline at Rossport.

“Shell seems to be playing games once again,” said Dr Jerry Cowley, TD yesterday. “They seem to be pulling back in a perverse way on the other options and orchestrating events. They owe an explanation to the people of Mayo.”

This sentiment has been echoed by Shell to Sea spokesperson Dr Mark Garavan who has described an apology by Andy Pyle for Shell’s part in the imprisonment of the Rossport Five as ‘a tactical decision’.

Dr Garavan has identified the mediation process between Shell and the five men as the most likely avenue for progress. “When you balance up what they’re actually doing with what they’re saying, you begin to see there are mixed messages from Shell,” he said.

“We’re at a point now where we have an opportunity to get this thing done right and in a way that everybody wins. Nothing has happened with the Corrib gas pipeline on shore, it’s easy to re-configure it.”

Speaking to The Mayo News on Monday, Shell spokesperson Susan Shannon agreed that mediation provides the most likely means of a breakthrough, particularly in light of ground rules laid out by Mr Peter Cassells.

“These state that all development concepts and all routes will be considered in the process,” explained Ms Shannon.

“We are willing to consider all concepts and all route options. Having said that the current route was selected for good reason, and from an environmental and safety point of view we still believe that it’s the best option. But we’re willing to consider all others, certainly if someone can show us a better one we are willing to consider that.”

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