"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.”
by Irish Times Friday, Jul 29 2005, 1:40am
''The Erris Inshore Fishermen's Association (EIFA) was told by the company yesterday that the world's largest pipe-laying vessel, the 285m (935ft) Solitaire, would arrive in Broadhaven Bay within the next fortnight. The Solitaire can lay pipeline at a rate of 4km to 8km a day, depending on the depth and size of the pipe, and can work in 4.5m (15ft) waves.Eddie Diver, chair of the EIFA, said he was warned by a senior Shell official on the phone that the law would be enforced if the vessel's activity was impeded in any way by the fishermen.Mr Diver said he felt ''intimidated'' by this comment. The fishermen's association had told Shell earlier this month that it would no longer co-operate with it while the five men were in jail.''I advised the company that given the tensions onshore, and if they were intent on proceeding, they would be better advised to start at the well head,'' Mr Diver said. ''However, I was informed that they would be starting in Broadhaven Bay.''The company said the Solitaire had been ''optioned'' to work on the project shortly, but no decision had yet been taken about laying the pipe. Any discussion with relevant stakeholders had been in the context of potential work programmes, it said.Mark Garavan, spokesman for the five Mayo men in prison over the pipeline, said that if the company went ahead with the work offshore, it would ''definitely reject'' the option of an offshore platform, and would ''prejudge'' the safety review that has been commissioned by the Minister. The deadline for tenders for the review closes today.''