Royal Dutch Shell Group .com The “GREAT CORRIB GAS CONTROVERSY” may turn into a full blown scandal: “The CPI report contained findings on health, safety and environmental implications damaging to Shell’s case and with potentially equally damning political implications for the Irish coalition government.”: Wednesday 14 December 2005: 04.22am EST


By Alfred Donovan


On 22 November the Centre for Public Inquiry (the CPI) in Ireland published an extensive report entitled “THE GREAT CORRIB GAS CONTROVERSY”. It related to the Irish pipeline project spearheaded by oil giant Royal Dutch Shell which resulted in protestors against the pipeline being jailed at Shell’s behest for 3 months. The “Rossport Five” were released after a spectacular U-turn by Shell management when it realised that its arrogant hard-ball tactics had resulted in a PR debacle to rival Brent Spa. Thousands of people joined in street protests.  


The mission of the CPI is to independently promote the highest standards of integrity, ethics and accountability across Irish public and business life and to investigate and publicise breaches of those standards where they arise. The Board of the CPI is chaired by Mr Justice Feargus Flood. Investigative journalist, Frank Connolly is its Executive Director. The CPI has been funded by Atlantic Philanthropies since its inception.  


The CPI report contained findings on health, safety and environmental implications damaging to Shell’s case and with potentially equally damning political implications for the Irish coalition government.


Soon after the publication of the report attempts were made at the highest political levels to 'shoot the messenger' in the person of Frank Connolly. These tactics may now have backfired badly following the admission of the Irish Minister for Justice (and former Attorney General) Michael McDowell that he personally gave material from a police file to one newspaper - the Irish Independent, owned by Tony O'Reilly who also controls Providence Resources (which owns major Irish offshore exploration blocks). This apparent attempt to blacken the reputation of Frank Connolly has resulted in Chuck Feeney, of Atlantic Philanthropies, withdrawing funding from CPI.


However, McDowell went further and used Dáil privilege (the Irish Parliament) to repeat allegations against Connolly which, to date, have not been pursued by the Director of Public Prosecutions and, therefore have not been adjudicated upon under due process.


It appears that extremely powerful forces are at work and one wonders where the intrigue will lead in relation to the Corrib pipeline. Will “THE GREAT CORRIB GAS CONTROVERSY” turn into something even bigger – a full blown scandal? 


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Alfred Donovan has had business dealings with Shell stretching back almost 50 years. In the 1980’s & 90’s the sales promotion company he founded with his son, John (Don Marketing) created and supplied multimillion dollar national promotions for Shell on an international basis. He and his son probably hold the world record for suing Shell, having subsequently brought a series of court actions: five for breach of confidence or breach of contract, and two for libel. They have never lost a case against Shell. Details about the litigation are published on, the unique website owned by the Donovan’s. It contains the world’s largest collection of articles, news and reports focused on Royal Dutch Shell and its activities – astonishingly, over 6,000 web pages. Mr Donovan own and uses the registration to the dotcom domain name for Shell’s unified $200 billion (USD) company: Royal Dutch Shell Plc ( Shell made an unsuccessful attempt to seize it by instituting proceedings via the World Intellectual Property Organisation in May 2005. A WIPO panel gave a unanimous verdict in favour of Mr Donovan in August.

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