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Shell pipeline letters handed back
Tuesday September 25, 2007 18:14 by Rudiger
Kilcommon residents hand back 60 letters to RPS.
Residents returning their letters
Yesterday evening 40 to 50 locals from the Kilcommon parish gathered at the RPS offices in Belmullet. RPS is the company that has been employed by Shell to find a new land route for the Corrib gas pipeline. The purpose of the gathering was to return over 60 letters that RPS had sent out to various households close to the 3 remaining proposed routes, and more importantly to let RPS know that no route, which involved raw gas, would be countenanced by the vast majority of the residents of Kilcommon. The letters that were sent out by RPS let the residents know which 3 routes they deemed most suitable and also requested individual consultation with the stakeholders.
On reaching the RPS offices however the group was met by a young RPS employee (presumably the receptionist) who told the group that there was no one from RPS available to meet the group, as they were all away at a meeting. John Monaghan, spokesperson for Shell to Sea, then handed the lady the 60 letters that RPS had sent out. He then told her how unhappy the local residents were with the complete lack of respect that RPS was showing to the views of the local community. John then shook hands with the lady, following which the group left the area.
Following this however two members of the group were walking round the back of the building to their car when they saw a group of people inside the RPS building. Another request was made at the front door to talk to someone and this time miraculously someone from RPS was available to talk. However the first words out of his mouth was that he wouldn’t let “this mob in the door”. This despite the fact that the groups last intention was to enter the building. He later apologised for calling the people he is supposed to be consulting with a mob but his attitude throughout the whole interaction was one of impatience, inattentiveness and annoyance. He identified himself as a civil engineer working on the project. First of all the fact that RPS had blatantly lied to the group by saying that none was in, was raised. The man said that a meeting had been going on and that everyone else was in it at the time.
John Monaghan outlined local displeasure with RPS’s whole attitude in dealing with the pipeline route. He stated that RPS seem to be taking full instructions from Shell and not addressing any local concerns with regard to the pipeline. John Monaghan then told the man about the 850 signatures that had been collected from the Kilcommon parish stating their opposition to raw gas coming through their community and that this represented about 80% of the adult population of the parish.
The RPS man said that he would pass this information along but he that he couldn’t stand here all day that he had a meeting to get back to. Seeing that they weren’t going to get any answers to their questions from this man the group left the offices.
One landowner who attended yesterday was Tony King from Aghoose (who owns land on route B) stated that:
“There are about 24 or 25 people in this village [Aghoose] and RPS have not spoken to any of us even though they claim they have been consulting widely with the community. Everyone in the village will go to jail if we have to”.
I read today in the papers that RPS’s retort to yesterday handing back of the letters are to claim that landowners along the proposed new routes have been intimidated into returning letters sent to them. This claim is vehemently denied by Shell to Sea and further antagonises the very people that RPS is supposed to be consulting with.
The 3 routes that remain are as follows:
· Corridor A: from the landfall for the offshore pipeline at Glengad to the refinery at Bellanaboy, diverts north from the previously approved route, and RPS says it is further away from homes and avoids population clusters over much of its length of 10.5km. It traverses commonage east of Rossport, and also crosses blanket bog within the Glenamoy Bog Complex Special Area of Conservation (SAC).
· Corridor B: from Glengad to the refinery is 8.3 km long and travels mostly on land, but involves two crossings of the bay and a transit via Aughoose. Consultants say that there are "no homes within the 300 metre corridor".
· Corridor C: from Glengad to the refinery is identified as one of the shortest corridor options at 8.2 km, but traverses 4.5km of Sruwaddacon bay SAC.
Walking in to the offices
Initial RPS employee
RPS civil engineer