Irish Times: Opponents say gas report altered: “Micheal O Seighin, one of the five Rossport residents imprisoned for three months due to their opposition to the high pressure pipeline, told The Irish Times that the terms of reference for the Advantica study were too narrow and he expected that it would give the project a clean bill of health, with perhaps minor modifications.”: Tuesday December 06, 2005
Lorna Siggins, Marine Correspondent, and Tom Shiel
Opponents of the Corrib gas onshore pipeline say they believe that the Government's new safety review of the pipeline is being "rewritten" in the light of a recent highly critical study.
However, the Department of Marine and Natural Resources has denied that a draft review by Advantica Consultants is being altered, although the completed draft document has been with Minister for the Marine Noel Dempsey for a fortnight.
The Minister's technical advisory group intends to release the draft study to residents in north Mayo this week and has asked the authors, Advantica Consultants, to give a public presentation, chaired by former Ictu secretary general Peter Cassells.
Mr Cassells was appointed mediator between Corrib lead developers, Shell E&P Ireland, and the local community, following the release of the five Rossport residents from prison over two months ago.
Informal talks have been held involving a number of parties, including business supporters of the gas project in Mayo, in the last couple of weeks.
Micheal O Seighin, one of the five Rossport residents imprisoned for three months due to their opposition to the high pressure pipeline, told The Irish Times that the terms of reference for the Advantica study were too narrow and he expected that it would give the project a clean bill of health, with perhaps minor modifications.
Advantica has worked for Shell in the past, but the Minister said that this was fully disclosed to his selection panel assessing the contract.
A spokeswoman for Mr Dempsey has denied that there has been any rewriting.
Meanwhile, Mayo County Council has expressed concern about a potential pollution threat caused by untreated water leaving the Corrib gas terminal site at Bellanaboy.
Since late November, Shell personnel have been denied access to the site in order to carry out environmental, care and maintenance works which the company describes as "urgent".
As the impasse continues, Mayo county manager Des Mahon says they are concerned about the deterioration in water quality but there is no immediate threat to Carrowmore lake, the source of drinking water for thousands of homes.
However, the local authority says it is imperative that environmental works be carried out to treat the large volume of water which is being stored in the excavated terminal area for several months.
It says its volume would be substantially increased by heavy rainfall.
The Shell to Sea campaign, which is opposed to the terminal and onshore pipeline, says there is no need for Shell personnel on the terminal site as work has been terminated by the company.
A Shell spokesman said yesterday that it was hoped to resolve the impasse by discussion locally.
The blockade of the site has meant that it has not been possible to complete the testing and commissioning of a treatment plant which has been brought on to site and assembled, the spokesman said.
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