"The Government have clearly sent the message to Shell, ‘you can do whatever you want’. Fortunately due to protest, the refinery remains unconnected to the gas field. If, as Shell planned, gas had been flowing by now, we would potentially all be dealing with a gas leak and explosion.”
The European Commission is planning to take Ireland to court over its failure to comply with EU rules on the gas market.
Both Britain and Ireland will be taken to the European Court of Justice due to a failure to have adequate gas infrastructure that allows competition in the market.
"According to EU gas rules, the maximum interconnection capacity between member states and between different gas transmission systems must be offered to the market so that consumers can fully benefit from competition on the market," the commission said in a statement.
"The maximum interconnection capacity is not offered in the UK and Ireland as the pipeline connecting Northern Ireland and Ireland is not open to the market. This means that gas companies in Ireland cannot directly trade gas with Northern Ireland or vice versa."
Meanwhile, the gas pipeline connecting Scotland to Northern Ireland does not provide for short-term services, the commission said, and it does not offer virtual reverse flow capacity as required by EU legislation.
Common arrangements for gas between Northern Ireland and the Republic are in the works, but the project has been delayed, prompting the action from the commission.