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Shell consultants can’t enter private land
At Wednesday’s sitting of Belmullett District Court, Shell E&P Ireland Ltd were prohibited by Judge Mary Devins from entering Rossport and Muinig na Bó commonages where they wanted to inspect the land to see if it was suitable for laying a pipeline.
Two separate appeals were brought before the court. One was on behalf of Ms Monica Muller while the other case was for 27 separate appellants, all of whom have shares in the commonage.
Mr John Gordon, the solicitor representing Shell, said that there are now three pipeline corridors shortlisted, and that this commonage was one of the shortlisted routes. Mr Gordon said there were two ways in which consultants for Shell (RPS Group), could enter the land: by gaining consent of all owners or by giving notice.
Mr Gordon said that there was no point in getting consent because if one person from all the owners would not give their consent then it could not stand. Therefore, he told the court that notice was given in a number of ways—publication in local papers, in areas of the commonage, and some owners were sent letters.
Judge Devins referred to legislation which said that “notice shall be addressed to them and may be served in a number of following ways”.
The judge deemed that the word “shall” meant mandatory, and as not all owners were served with a written notice then Shell did not comply with the Act and “notice has not been correctly effected”.
The defending solicitor for Ms Muller said the reason the appeals were brought before the courts was for court protection, because if there was no attendance in court by the appellants then Shell would have been entitled to enter private land.
Judge Devins in her ruling said that she will allow the appeals and grant an order to prohibit entry of Shell consultants onto privately owned land, until the Gas Act in relation to either consent or notice is complied with in full.
The judge postponed a decision of costs until January 9, but stated that as it is almost “the season of goodwill” then costs might be decided on between the parties involved.

Posted Date: 
16 November 2007 - 1:09pm