"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.”
Aughoose resident Gerard McDonnell, delivered a submission consisting of 19 points of concern which he wished Advantica to address in its review. These reflected many of the concerns raised at the consultation and included a proposal that Shell boost the Corrib gas fund by €20m and add another million for every year the project operates. The money should be invested in the development of the area.Mr McDonnell currently lives 2km from the terminal site and 1.5km from the proposed on-shore pipeline and is building a new house in Glengad. He is Chairperson of a number of local committees including the Corrib Project and Corrib Environmental Monitoring Groups but made his submission in a personal capacity and on behalf of the parish of Kilcommon. He said there had been a lot of confusion among the general public over the Corrib gas project and suggested the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources carry out an analysis of the onshore and offshore gas processing terminal options. This would allow the locals to finally understand why the developer and the Government had proceeded with the onshore option.He called on Advantica to recommend in its Safety Review report that the onshore pipeline be moved further away from the houses it is proposed to pass in the Rossport area. The proposed route would make further housing development impossible in that area. Mr McDonnell also recommended that the pressure in the onshore pipeline should be lower than what is currently being proposed. It should be in line with the pressure in Bord Gais pipelines.He asked the representatives from Advantica to consider the risk implications should the proposed Corrib onshore gas pipeline rupture or break. He wondered how dangerous an explosion would be and suggested that the developers should be made to install as many safety valves as possible, to reduce the risk of a blast.He asked that the Safety Review consultants confirm that the proposed onshore pipeline is in line with the very latest designs. If this is not the case they should make recommendations as to an acceptable design and demand that this be used in the Corrib project.Mr McDonnell suggested that the devloper and the Corrib TAG (Technical Advisory Group) fully explain the design and composition of the onshore pipeline to the people of the Rossport area.The issue of the stability of the boggy landscape and its suitability for supporting an onshore pipeline will also have to be addressed. Mr McDonnell recommended that the consultants advise the Corrib project developers to lay the onshore pipeline deeper in the ground than is currently proposed.He explained that the development compounds that have been constructed to date as part of the Corrib terminal construction have caused some annoyance to local people. He argued that any further compounds to be constructed should be subject to planning permission. If not, then people should be provided with a legal opinion as to why such developments do not require planning.Mr McDonnell said he believed the proposed onshore pipeline would have devastating effect on the value of properties in its vicinity. Advantica should recommend that the devaluation of houses be determined and that appropriate compensation be paid to the residents effected. He also suggested that Shell and its partners should be made to compensate any home owners whose properties experience structural damage due to heavy traffic movements during the construction phase of the project.He argued that Advantica should, on concluding the safety review, make a full presentation on its findings to all people living on the onshore pipeline route and the residents living on the other side of Broadhaven Bay.He called for improved traffic management in villages along the onshore pipeline route.Mr McDonnell said some Irish state agency should take full responsibility for the onshore pipeline and monitor it throughout its lifetime, ensuring that it is maintained to the highest standards.He asked that the Corrib TAG provide land and homeowners with a full explanation as to how the compulsory acquisition orders relating to the onshore pipeline came about. Why was this task handled by the developer? That was not the norm, he said. Local people should have had an opportunity to make submissions or appeal the CPOs.Mr McDonnell advised the Advantica consultants that local people were very concerned about the implications the Corrib project might have for Broadhaven Bay. The outfall pipe was too close to the Bay: “Anything that goes in there does not go out it just goes around in circles. The outfall pipe should be taken as far away from the land and Bay and back out to the well if possible.”Mr McDonnell concluded his submission by calling on the Minister and Corrib TAG to recommend that the developers of the Corrib gas project undertake a major investment programme in Kilcommon parish and the Erris area in general. He said local people currently felt that they were being “used and abused”. He said the existing Corrib gas fund should be increased significantly to the tune of many millions of Euro for investment in local social and infrastructural projects.Mr McDonnell said Shell could invest another €20m in the fund upfront and a further €1m for every year of the project’s lifespan.