"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.”
ROSSPORT FARMER Willie Corduff was arrested yesterday afternoon at the scene of the jack-knifed Shell lorry at an isolated crossroads in north Co Mayo.
Mr Corduff is one of five men who were jailed for 94 days in 2005 in relation to their opposition to Shell’s construction of a pipeline and terminal in the area.
The lorry, which is carrying a section of the giant tunnel-boring machine, named Fionnuala after one of the Children of Lir, has been stuck at the Glenamoy crossroads since early Monday morning.
A spokesman for Mayo County Council said local authority experts and Shell personnel were continuing to examine their options for removing the 170-tonne lorry and its load from the roadside.
However, local observers say an attempt to tow it out of its position last night has further embedded the cab in a boggy ditch and that the axle may now also be damaged.
Criticising the developer and the local authority, Sinn Féin county councillor Rose Conway-Walsh said, “The health and safety of a whole community was put at risk by the blocking of the junction of the L1203 and R312.”
“The lack of consultation about the transporting by road of this exceptional heavy convoy is appalling. I can categorically state that neither Shell nor Mayo council consulted me as a local councillor about the transporting of this 172-tonne tunnel-boring machine.
“Had I been consulted, the first question I would have asked is, has the carrying capacity of the route been assessed by Mayo County Council and what health and safety plan has been put in place?” she said.
Ms Conway-Walsh has called on the council to provide a report on how the route was assessed. A council spokesman said it had “adhered to all the proper procedures”.
Partial access was restored on the roadway yesterday after Mayo County Council carried out emergency works. Shell has apologised to the local community.