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Brockovich urges Shell to reroute gas pipeline in Ireland logo

    Brockovich urges Shell to reroute gas pipeline in Ireland

    Former legal clerk backs campaign opposing county Mayo development

Erin Brockovich, the campaigner who was immortalised in an Oscar-winning film, today urged oil giant Shell to reroute a controversial gas pipeline in the west of Ireland.

The former legal clerk, who famously took on a major power company accused over toxic leaks, gave her backing to campaigners opposing the development in north county Mayo.

Brockovich said the pipeline should be relocated if it affected residents’ health or property. Shell has denied that the project affects either.

“There is no compromise when it comes to health and safety, and Shell should respect that,” Brockovich said.

“If it is family land or some type of heritage land or preserved land, they’ve got to go around it.

“If a condition exists where a company like Shell needs to be in a location and there are residences, you need to move them.”

Brockovich was portrayed by the actor Julia Roberts in the 2000 hit movie after winning a multi-million dollar legal battle against the energy firm PG&E for families affected by contaminated water in a Californian town.

She said she was confident that a compromise between the campaigners and Shell could be reached after discussing the matter with Irish environment minister and Green Party leader, John Gormley.

Brockovich also said a 10-day hunger strike by campaigner Maura Harrington was not the most effective way to reach a resolution.

Harrington, a retired school principal, called off her drastic action today when a pipe-laying ship left Irish waters.

“I would want her to eat,” Brockovich said. “I clearly understand it’s her way of making a very, very strong statement about something she feels strongly about, but I would want her to eat because we need to eat.”

The Shell to Sea demonstrators oppose attempts to lay a pipeline which will transport untreated and odourless gas from the Corrib gas field to an inland refinery because of health and environmental fears.

“I completely understand their concerns,” Brockovich said. “I deal with issues in the United States where pipelines have been put in, they’ve leaked and created health problems.

“Many people are in favour of progress, but they’re not in favour of progress to the point where you degrade our environment and jeopardise our public health and safety.”

Brockovich is in Dublin to speak about the benefits of eating organic food. She will give a lecture at University College Dublin tomorrow as part of Glenisk Organic Dairy’s celebrations for National Organic Week.

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