"The government has relinquished control over the offshore areas of our industry. Norway was tough regarding oil companies from the start. You now have an almost embarrassingly large pension fund. The situation for Irish communities, however, is as in Ogoniland in Nigeria - oil is a curse,”
A group of local residents have compiled a detailed complaint regarding the impact of the Corrib Gas Project on those living in the area.
The group who live in the direct vicinity of the Shell construction sites in Glengadand Aughoose say they have handed in 104 letters of complaint - signed by 112 people to Mayo County Council.
The documents were also sent to Shell, all political parties, ministers, councillors, An Garda Siochana, The Private Security Authority and several environmental and human rights organisations.
The residents of some communities along the Scruwaddacon estuary, a special area of conservation, say they face a daily scenario of "heavy goods vehicles, vans with blacked-out windows, police vehicles and construction traffic." along a rural road.
" We are totally ignored or at best treated with contempt by Mayo County Council's personnel and the road works were forced on us" said local resident Niall King.
"The noise of huge construction machinery and bright halogen lights from the construction sites never cease. We are under constant surveillance from police and Shell's private army. Our road is not safe to walk or cycle or drive on any longer, our villages are under siege, by day and by night," said Gerry Bourke from Leenamore.
Some locals say that the community investment by Shell means little when there daily life is impinged on..
" The vast majority of residents objected to this project years ago and the vast majority is now calling for an immediate halt to this madness.Shell's so called community investments have not changed anything. Streetlights and Christmas hampers and a few metres of footpath or stonewallshere and there do not fool people about the real impact this project has on our daily lives" said Sean Mc Andrew from Glengad.
The letters also allege that people's private hedgerows that fence off their land have been "deliberately destryed by council operatives/private contractors employed by Mayo County Council"
Shell E&P Ireland confirmed that it has received a copy of the complaint. It says that it adheres to "several hundred conditions" as part ofthe project's planning permission. "We strive at all times to carry out our work in a wway that has the least impact on on the local community. We are involved in ongoing dialogue with the local community and are always available to listen to concerns and to discuss ways in which any impact our work may behaving can be reduced further where feasible. Community liaison staff can be contacted on 097 27100 or by calling our freephone number, 1800 201 525 , which is responded to 24 hours a day," said the company in a statement. Mayo County Council declined to comment.