THE SUNDAY POST (IRELAND): Shell threat of court action over disputed Corrib pipeline: “Shell E&P Ireland has threatened High Court action against residents of Co Mayo if they continue to block access to private property near the route of the Corrib natural gas pipeline.” (ShellNews.net) 6 March 05
By Paul T Colgan and Ian Kehoe
06 March 2005
Shell E&P Ireland has threatened High Court action against residents of Co Mayo if they continue to block access to private property near the route of the Corrib natural gas pipeline.
In letters sent to the residents and seen by The Sunday Business Post, the company's solicitors are seeking an “unconditional undertaking'‘ from landowners that they will cease actions designed to obstruct preparatory work on the €900 million project.
One letter reads: “In the absence of such an undertaking our client will have no choice but to issue proceedings in the High Court against you seeking an injunction restraining you and/or any person having knowledge of the making of the order from interfering in any way with our client's lawful activities on the pipeline route.”
Gardai were called to Rossport last Tuesday after seven landowners and neighbours objected to 10 Shell representatives beginning work on the land. The Shell team withdrew as a result of the objection.
Last month, Shell E&P Ireland's solicitors wrote to landowners informing them that Shell would be making “one final attempt'‘ to gain access to the ground on March 1.
The letter also warned the landowners that, in the event of obstruction, the company would be taking legal action.
A Shell spokesman said that the company was “considering its options'‘ in light of last Tuesday's incident and that it had yet to make a decision.
Local property owners have expressed concerns about the safety of the proposed route, and independent Mayo TD Jerry Cowley has called for an independent risk assessment of the pipeline.
One landowner, who received a letter, told this newspaper that the owners would not allow Shell on their land “until a proper, legitimate and accountable assessment'‘ had been conducted.
“If they think we are simply going to roll over and let them through our land, they have another think coming,” said the landowner.
“This is a matter of health and safety. We are not trying to save swans and snails. We are simply looking out for our own welfare and the welfare of the area.”
Another landowner said he felt Shell was “simply trying to ride roughshod'' over locals, many of whom are elderly.
He said the company had tried to confuse people into signing letters without briefing them fully.
“They are a global giant. We are just average citizens. But we will not give up without a fight,” he said.
Up to 34 landowners have refused to provide written consent for access to away leave.
The access route had been granted by the former marine minister Frank Fahey.
Landowners who did provide consent are now querying the information given to them at the time.