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Royal Dutch Shell Plc .com: Rossport protesters believe little has changed

By: Lorna Siggins in Castlebar, Co Mayo, Irish Times
Published: Jun 30, 2006

“Bertie Ahern and his backbenchers are split, aren’t they? Mary Harney and Michael McDowell are split, aren’t they? They’re together for years, we are only new into this, and if they think there’s a split, let them come on to the land with their pipe again!”

The speaker, Rossport farmer Willie Corduff, was in jovial mood yesterday outside Mayo County Council’s offices in Castlebar. A year ago, he and four colleagues were sent to jail for contempt of court over their opposition to the Corrib gas onshore pipeline.

A year later, little had changed in his view. “Shell is determined to go ahead with this pipeline and it doesn’t want compromise,” Mr Corduff said.

This was echoed by colleagues Vincent and Philip McGrath. The three were in Castlebar to present a letter to the council. Signed by several dozen Erris residents and Shell to Sea supporters, it called for a response to unanswered questions on water quality as a result of Shell’s activities at the Bellanaboy terminal site.

Brendan Philbin, also jailed last year for 94 days, joined the trio at a wreath-laying ceremony at Fenian Michael Davitt’s grave in Straide. Retired schoolteacher Micheal O Seighin was represented by his wife CaitlIn.

Vincent McGrath said Shell’s new deputy chief executive, Terry Nolan, had made it clear the firm was committed to the existing route at a private breakfast for western TDs hosted by Chambers Ireland in Dublin on Wednesday. Shell had issued a statement seeking “face-to-face dialogue through the mediation process”.

But it is understood the firm is not happy with progress at mediation.

A spokesman denied this week it had accused the Government mediator, Peter Cassells, of having “gone native” in briefings with local Mayo politicians.

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