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The real story behind the Cassels Report on the Corrib project
The following is based on accounts I recieved from many local people in the Erris region of how thanx to inference from Noel Dempsey and others, the mediation process became hi-jacked by a small but noisy group of Shell apologist's who are well known locally for their contempt for local peoples legitimate concerns about the current projects affect on there health, safety and the local terrestrial and Marine environment. It goes some way to explain certain bizarre findings in the Cassels report , such as the lie that the project has the backing of the majority of local people etc. when the the truth one finds from visting the area is obviously quiet the opposite
It should come as no surprise to anyone the outcome and conclusion of yet another Dept Of Marine sponsored effort to justify the Corrib gas fiasco, this time under the so-called “independent” chairmanship of Mr Cassels, Minster Noel Dempsey’s friend and canvasser for FF in a recent Meath by-election. Many people including myself gave Mr Cassels the benefit of the doubt, hoping that a fair and reasonably independent mediation process would emerge.
The Rossport 5 gave the mediation process their goodwill and backing despite the fact that Shell still seemed reluctant to negotiate with them face to face as a group in an open and honest manner,. However after a couple of weeks doubts began to emerge about the independence of the whole mediation process when the Rossport 5 and others complained of interference by the minister and people connected with Shell in what was supposed to be a process between the affected landowners, concerned locals and Shell.
The evidence is for this is plain to see by anyone who has read Mr Cassels report . It is obvious from the acknowledge section that the whole process over time became hijacked by the usual , small but noisy group of local Shell apologists in Erris and beyond which is bizarre since the whole process was set up to deal with local safety and environmental concerns.
These puny in number but loud in voice consisted of PEGG(Pro Erris Gas Group), Western Development Commission, and rogue elements of the long discredited IMG (Independent Monitoring Group) among others, none of whom have shown anything but contempt for local peoples health, safety and environmental concerns over the last few years . People on the ground in Rossport and the wider Erris area noted the increasingly disproportionate amount of time, consideration and influence this motley crew gained during the by now creaking mediation process.
Meanwhile apart from a couple of meetings with the Rossport 5 the majority on the other side appeared to have little or no influence or say in Mr Cassels final report. For example the ShelltoSea HQ at Bellanaboy the main rallying point for opposition to the currently proposed project received barely an hour of Mr Cassels time which regretfully consisted of a “breaking the ice” session which consisted of irrelevant chit-chat on his part. Unfortunately he subsequently appeared to have been none too keen to return and discuss the the substantial issues. Indeed he was never seen again at Bellanaboy .
The reason I wrote this piece was because these uncomfortable facts seem to have gone unnoticed by the bulk of the so called mainstream media in there analysis of the mediation outcome. This consists of the perpetuation of the falsehood spun by Noel Dempsey and other vested interests that local people are only too delighted to become the servants and pawns of Shell and the Dept of the marine in return for a few crumbs (450,000 euros in total is the latest figure) from the massive 1 billion plus pure profit which Shell and its partners stand to make from the project, thanks to the Irish governments policy of free gas for everyone - except the Irish people who will have to fork out for it at prevailing market prices.
Unfortunately for Shell and the government, public opinion is getting sick and tired of this kind of self-serving spin; and is coming to the realisation that had this project had been designed with some degree of competence and respect for local peoples concerns and economic well being, ie the processing of the gas at sea, the Corrib gas would be flowing through Bord Gáis pipes by now.