Dempsey demands Shell dismantle pipeline01/08/2005 - 11:23:42
The Minster for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources Noel Dempsey has ordered oil giant Shell to dismantle a three-kilometre gas pipeline in the west of Ireland which had been constructed without permission.
The pipeline, which is intended to transport gas from the Corrib gas field off the coast of Co Mayo to an onshore refinery, has led to widespread protests and the jailing of five men opposed to it.
“What I’m ordering them to do now is to undo the length of pipeline they welded,” he said.
The method of supervising the €900m project will also be changed, with departmental inspectors carrying out the monitoring rather than Shell itself.
“What we will have is authorised officers who will be able to go on site of any of the Shell works during the remainder of this project. They will be able to do so unannounced and without any prior notice,” said Mr Dempsey.
Mr Dempsey had written to Shell over a week ago informing it of the breach and had been told in response that the company regretted the action.
However, he said Shell would still be given ministerial consent to complete the pipeline once it met the technical requirements.
The construction of the pipeline has led to safety concerns among local residents in Rossport, Co Mayo. Five men were jailed nearly six weeks ago for refusing to obey a High Court order preventing them from obstructing the construction work on their land.
The men known as the Rossport Five – Micheal O’Seighin, Willie Corduff, Brendan Philbin, and brothers Vincent and Philip McGrath – have pledged to remain in Cloverhill Prison in Dublin until their concerns about the safety of the pipeline are addressed.
They want the gas to be refined offshore rather than transported along the pipeline beside their homes to the onshore refinery.
Mr Dempsey has commissioned a safety review, which is expected to take around six weeks to complete.
He said there was now clear evidence that the Department was taking an active role in monitoring the pipeline.
However, he said the Rossport Five would remain in jail until they purged their contempt of court.
“That is a matter between them and the courts,” he said.
Shell has announced 91 jobs will be lost at the site due to the delay in construction work.
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