14 July 2005

Five Co Mayo men to remain in prison


14 July 2005 13:20

The five Co Mayo men who are in jail following their failure to comply with a court order are to remain in custody after they declined to purge their contempt at a High Court hearing this morning.

Mr Justice Joseph Finnegan also refused to amend the order given on 4 April restraining landowners in the Rossport area from stopping Shell carrying out work on their lands.

The judge also dismissed an application for an injunction preventing Shell from continuing with work on the Corrib gas pipeline project in north Mayo.

Justice Finnegan said he saw no point in the five men remaining in jail.

However, he said they would have to come before Justice McMenamin to purge their contempt before they could be released.

Meanwhile, a group of about 20 people continued their protest at the site of the Shell Gas Refining Terminal at Bellanaboy in North Mayo this morning.

Pickets were placed on two separate entrances and a waste removal truck was prevented from entering the site.

Work on the site has been halted for the past week. A number of Gardai were called to the scene.

The protestors say they are still totally opposed to the location of the €300 million terminal at the site and believe the gas should be refined at sea.

Shell welcomes Dempsey move

Meanwhile, Shell Ireland has welcomed an initiative by the Minister for Natural Resources, Noel Dempsey, aimed at resolving the dispute over the pipeline.

Last night, the minister said he was ordering a further safety review with a view to ending the standoff.

However, in their initial reaction to the minister's initiative, the jailed men have indicated that its terms of reference do not go far enough.

In a statement issued on their behalf, the men said the core safety issue was what would happen if there was a leak or rupture of the gas pipeline and what would be the subsequent effect on local people at various distances from it.

The statement said the minister's most recent proposal deliberately excludes the safety of the men and their families from his published terms of reference and it was not acceptable.

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