IRELAND: Corrib gas talks expected to continue next month - Shell to Sea protestor jailed
March 23rd, 2009
Corrib gas talks expected to continue next month
LORNA SIGGINS Marine Correspondent
Sat, Mar 21, 2009
TALKS involving the Government, Shell senior management and north Mayo
representatives over the Corrib gas impasse are expected to continue
next month, following almost five hours of discussions in Dublin
The talks, involving three members of the Rossport
Five, were described last night as “full and frank” in a joint
statement issued afterwards by Minister for Energy Eamon Ryan and
Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Éamon Ó Cuív.
issues were discussed, and it was agreed to give some time for all
parties to reflect,” the Ministers said. They were “hopeful that there
will be a follow-up meeting as soon as possible”.
chaired by former Department of Justice secretary general Joe Brosnan,
was held at Mr Ó Cuív’s department headquarters in Mespil Road, Dublin.
represented the first direct talks between Rossport Five members and
Shell since the five were jailed for 94 days in 2005 over their
opposition to the routing of the high-pressure Corrib gas onshore
Shell was represented by John Gallagher, vice-president
(technical) of Shell EP Europe, and Terry Nolan, Shell EP Ireland
When a third Shell nominee was unable to
travel, attempts to nominate substitutes, including Shell EP Ireland
director John Egan, were overruled by the Erris community delegation
before discussions began.
The Mayo delegation included Rossport
Five members Micheál Ó Seighin, Vincent McGrath and Willie Corduff of
Pobal Chill Chomáin community group, along with Fr Michael Nallen, Mary
Corduff and John Monaghan.
Erris group Pobal le Chéile, which
represents business interests in the area, was represented by four
delegates, including former Air Corps pilot and adventure sports
company director Ciarán Ó Murchú and fisherman Anthony Irwin.
Nallen was one of three priests who proposed a compromise location for
the Corrib gas terminal at Glinsk, which has been rejected by Shell.
Both community groups support Fr Nallen’s compromise, while Shell to Sea is still holding out for an offshore terminal.
to Sea was not invited to participate, according to its spokesman,
Naoise Ó Mongáin, who staged a picket outside yesterday’s discussions
at Mespil Road.
“Even if we were invited, we would not talk to Shell, while Maura Harrington is in Mountjoy Jail,” Mr Ó Mongáin said.
his wife, was imprisoned for 28 days by Judge Mary Devins at Belmullet
District Court earlier this month for an assault on a garda.
Brosnan and the Ministers have said that the discussions will have an
“open agenda” – the first time that the State has not tried to confine
resolution attempts to particular terms of reference.
Shell EP Ireland has said it welcomes the opportunity to “participate in a positive and open manner in these talks”.
Chill Chomáin and Pobal le Chéile said they had agreed to accept the
invitation from the Ministers “in an effort to resolve the issues that
have plagued the Corrib gas project since its initiation in 2000”.
Bord Pleanála is still in the early stages of assessing Shell’s revised
plans for a modified pipeline route, and for planning approval for the
critical beach valve station at Glengad.
The Organisation for
Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has already indicated that
it will initiate separate mediation on the issue between Shell and
Pobal Chill Chomáin, following confirmation that a complaint lodged by
the north Mayo community is “admissible”.
Shell EP Ireland said
in a statement last night it was “very glad to have had the opportunity
to meet today with the groups who oppose the project” and the
discussions were “open, frank and constructive”.