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Western People (Ireland): Work to resume next month on gas project (*more Shell double-talk)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006
By: Orla Hearns

SEPIL looks set to cause confusion once again in relation to its intentions for the Corrib gas project in Erris.

Having resolved just weeks ago to give serious consideration to rerouting the controversial high pressure on-shore gas pipeline away from residences in the Ross-port area, the Company is about to announce a number of new initiatives relating to the gas project.

A spokesperson for SEPIL (Shell E&P Ireland Ltd) told the Western People yesterday, Monday, August 14, that the initiatives will relate to “enhancing local benefits, local employment and the procuring of services locally”.

She confirmed that the initiatives concern works on site. SEPIL is also gearing up to proceed in September with the long proposed expansion of the Axonics water treatment system at the gas terminal site in Bellanaboy. “Having gone through the Independent Safety Review and mediation processes our intent, having accepted the outcome of both, was that we would proceed with the need to expand the water treat-ment Axonics equipment. We are looking at doing that in September. Further to that we will be getting back to some works on site,” the company’s spokesperson said.

She was unable to confirm when SEPIL would be announcing these new initiatives.

Dr Mark Garavan, the spokesperson for the Rossport Five, said he was reluctant to comment just yet on this latest move by Shell.

“The one thing I will say is that they are once again causing a contradiction. On the one hand they are saying they will work to find an agreed pipeline route. At the same time they are announcing that works are going to take place in Bellanaboy before any agree-ment has been reached. Once again it shows that their under-standing of the term ‘agreement’ is pretty poor. They are pre-judging the outcome,” he remarked.

Earlier this week SEPIL announced that Mr Padraig McAvock from Geeveraune, Belderrig, had been appointed as Fisheries Liaison Coordinator for the Erris area.

Mr McAvock is to work with local fishing organizations and with the wider marine community in Erris.

Prior to joining Shell, he worked as a fisherman for 40 years. In its announcement, SEPIL praised Mr McAvock’s “sound understanding of the Corrib project”.

He has worked with Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) since 1990 on a number of marine surveys relating to the catching methods for dogfish and squid and also investigated the impact of seal attacks on salmon driftnets. Mr McAvock will be supported by Shell’s longstanding National Fisheries Liaison Officer, John Kelleher.

Mr Terry Nolan, SEPILS’s Mayo based Deputy Managing Director, said:

“As a well known fisherman, Padraig will contribute a wealth of experience and local knowledge to the Corrib Gas Project. His appointment will strengthen the Corrib team in Mayo and assist us in working more closely with the fishing community. This appointment reinforces our commitment to employing local talent as we continue to invest in Mayo.”

No decision has been taken yet as to the fate of SEPIL’s on-going injunction proceedings against a number of opponents to the project. It has been suggested that any re-routing of the pipeline might render the proceedings unnecessary.

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