In 2001 Enterprise Energy Ireland Ltd, acting for the oil companies Enterprise Oil, Statoil and Marathon, submitted plans to situate a gas refinery in Ballinaboy, Co. Mayo, to process gas from the Corrib field which had been discovered some 80 km off the west coast. The local radio station, Mid-West, sponsored a small group from Co. Mayo to spend 3 days in the Shetland Islands to learn how the Shetland Council had responded to the discovery of North Sea Oil off their shores in the early 70’s and the proposal to build one of the biggest oil refineries in Europe on their doorstep.

Local radio journalist Liamy McNally, Ian McAndrew of the Gaeltacht Authority and local schoolteacher Micheal Ó Seighin travelled to the Shetland Islands to meet with the Islands Council, fishermen and local people, to see how this small rural community had dealt with the challenge presented by the arrival of the Oil Industry in their community. Shay Fenelly, photographer, documented the visit for the Irish Times and showed almost prophetically how the tragic unravelling of the Corrib saga could have been avoided. The following is based on his article 9 years ago.