Ireland Online: Gas pipeline protesters due back in court: “Five men jailed for refusing to end their protest against a controversial gas pipeline are due back in court today, as the Government launches a new safety review of the project.”: Thursday 14 July 2005
Five men jailed for refusing to end their protest against a controversial gas pipeline are due back in court today, as the Government launches a new safety review of the project.
Efforts are being made to secure the Co Mayo men’s release two weeks after they were jailed in Dublin for contempt of an injunction brought against them by oil giant Shell.
The Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, Noel Dempsey, said he had launched the review following a week of negotiations with the protesters fro the Rossport area.
Micheal O’Seighin, Vincent McGrath, his brother Philip, Willie Corduff and Brendan Philbin are being held in Cloverhill prison in Dublin for refusing to obey a High Court injunction preventing them obstructing the construction of the pipeline.
Shell E & P Ireland is seeking to pump gas at high pressure from the Corrib gas field along the pipe to an onshore refinery at Bellanaboy in Mayo as part of a €990m project.
The jailed men want Shell to build the gas refinery offshore, because they fear that pumping unrefined gas past their homes will lead to a health and safety risk.
“Over the past seven days I have been in contact, through an intermediary, with the five men currently in prison for contempt of court in relation to the proposed onshore Corrib gas pipeline,” Mr Dempsey said.
“The contacts, made through an intermediary, were in the context of the men purging their contempt.
“The contacts focused on the concerns expressed by the men in relation to the safety of the pipeline.
“On my behalf, the intermediary offered a further safety review of the onshore pipeline, to be conducted by international experts, with a view to meeting the concerns raised,” he said.
Despite his overtures, and an offer to meet the men if they purged their contempt, the minister said he had received no agreement from the protesters.
But he announced he was going ahead with the new safety review, which he said would be carried out by independent internationally-recognised experts.
“The purpose of this review is to meet the concerns and fears expressed by residents in relation to the safety of the onshore pipeline,” he said.
The review will examine all the documentation surrounding the design, construction and operation of the onshore pipeline in order to assess whether it meets health and safety standards.
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