Irish Independent: Dempsey initiative to break 'Rossport Five' deadlock fails: “The men are currently in prison for contempt of court arising from the proposed onshore Corrib gas pipeline being installed by Shell, resulting in continuing protests…”: Thursday July 14, 2005
AN initiative by Communications, Marine and Natural Resources Minister Noel Dempsey to break the deadlock in the case of the "Rossport Five" has so far failed. The men are currently in prison for contempt of court arising from the proposed onshore Corrib gas pipeline being installed by Shell, resulting in continuing protests in support of their stance in the West.
Mr Dempsey has been working through an intermediary, IFA vice-president Raymond O'Malley, for the past week to try to broker a deal which would lead to the five Mayo farmers purging their contempt.
While he refused to meet them while they were in jail, he had agreed to talks once they had purged their contempt.
Mr Dempsey said last night that: "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." The minister said: "Despite this and despite indicating my willingness to meet the five men if they purged their contempt, I received no agreement."
"In view of this, I have now decided that a new safety review will be carried out by independent internationally-recognised experts." The five men had sought that the danger of explosions be explicitly covered in the terms of reference.
But Minister Dempsey responded that such a risk was already covered in the brief. The names of companies that would be invited to tender for the review were passed to the imprisoned men by the intermediary. Others will also be able to put their names forward.
Senan Molony and Gene McKenna
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