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Erris fishermen reject proposed funding application to Shell

Current Publication Date: 23/12/2006
Erris fishermen reject proposed funding application to Shell
by Fiona McGarry
A proposal that Shell E&P Ireland would provide funding to promote lobster stocks in the Erris area has been rejected by local fishermen because of their opposition to the proposed Corrib Gas terminal.
It’s understood that the proposal came from within the V-notching Committee of the Erris Inshore Fishermens’ Association. The committee is largely made up of lobster fishermen, and its chairperson is understood to have made a proposal to Shell E&P who run a €3 million investment scheme for community projects in the Erris region.
The proposal came before members of the EIFA last Saturday night at a meeting in Erris chaired by Declan Nee, Inshore Officer with Bord Iascaigh Mhara. Up to 24 members of EIFA attended and the majority view was that the proposal should be rejected. Pat O’Donnell of the EIFA told The Mayo Advertiser the proposal was turned down because of the fishermens’ long-running opposition to Shell’s terminal plan. The EIFA has fought the €200 million terminal plan consistently, over fears that discharge from a pipeline into Broadhaven Bay could pollute local fish stocks.
Declan Nee of BIM, described the funding proposal as “adventurous”, but told The Mayo Advertiser he was “100 per cent neutral” in the Corrib gas issue. Mr Nee stressed that BIM is firmly committed to funding the marine sector in Erris, no matter what other sources of money are available. He described the existing stocks of lobster in Broadhaven Bay as “in good shape”, but predicted that they will come under increasing pressure because of the ban on drift-net fishing for salmon.
Mr Nee said he had seen division in other marine communities and that he was “saddened” by what is happening in the Erris community. He said there appeared to be “entrenched views” on both sides.
When contacted by The Mayo Advertiser, Shell E&P Ireland pointed out that deadline for applications to its fund, for the first half of 2007, was December 1. The company said it was now reviewing the submissions received, and would not comment on any individual applications.
In a separate development, the EIFA has recently met with Shell E&P and the Department of the Marine as part of the consultation process over the re-routing of other sections of the on-shore gas pipeline. Another meeting on the issue is scheduled for the new year.
Meanwhile, Údaras na Gaeltachta has given permission to Shell E&P Ireland to lease an empty factory building for use as office space. The former Carraig Donn factory in Belmullet is being made available to Shell E&P as a centre for local management of the Corrib Gas project. Up to 25 people will work at the centre when it is fully developed. The company itself will be responsible for the conversion works on the former factory building.

Posted Date: 
23 December 2006 - 9:59am