"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.”
November 27, 2002The Taoiseach is denying there was political interference in the Corrib gas planning process. He was answering a Dail question from Socialist Party TD, Joe Higgins. The project is at the centre of an oral hearing, currently running in Ballina.
The issue of political interference was raised in a Channel 4 news report on the project yesterday evening. In May 2001, the senior marine department official requested that Mayo Co Council advise the department in advance of any planning approvals for the Corrib gas terminal. In June 2001, a representative of a company employed by the department to examine the Corrib project rang Mayo Co Council and informed them that the then Minister for the Marine, Frank Fahy, wished to be on a steering committee for the project. Both issues were cited in subsequent Dail questions by Mayo TD, Michael Ring, who accused the then Minister Fahy of political interference in planning matters in Mayo. Minister Fahy denied the charges.