Pobal Chill Chomáin requests meeting with Minister
Dear Minister Pat Rabbitte,
Following your interview on Morning Ireland programme (June 1 2011) Pobal Chill Chomáin is very concerned with many of your comments in relation to the Corrib gas project as they appear to show a lack of familiarity with a project which has taken over the lives of the residents of this parish for the past 11 years.
You say that most people concerned about safety in the Corrib project acknowledged that everything possible had been done to improve safety. Our concerns about health and safety have not been allayed by the constant tweaking of the project which is essentially the same as that rejected by An Bord Pleanála in 2003. The people who are most concerned about health and safety live in this community and have been forced to defend themselves and their environment when the State abandoned them. Why are we, uniquely, expected to accept an unprecedented inland refinery and a high pressure raw gas pipeline running through the heart of our community? As citizens we demand equality, no more, no less. “Equality is not a luxury for the good times or a buzzword: it is at the heart of what it means to be a citizen in our democracy” (Labour Party Manifesto 2011).
Your “Shell out of Ireland” remarks are misinformed and again misrepresent the views of the local community. Our campaign goes back as far as 2000, well before Shell’s involvement in the project. It has never been about ideology. Our health and safety concerns would not be diminished if this were a State-driven project being forced on us in the same manner.
You should be aware that challenges to key consents signed by former minister for energy Pat Carey for construction of the onshore Corrib gas pipeline are pending in the Commercial Court. Your statement that you would like to see the Corrib gas pipeline completed during your tenure could be interpreted as a signal to the Courts that a certain outcome would be welcome and as such your comments could be potentially prejudicial.
There are other issues raised in the course of your interview which we would also challenge, eg, that Corrib gas would result in a fall in gas prices or would help Ireland’s energy security. However Pobal Chill Chomáin believes that a face to face meeting would prove to be more beneficial and would help you, as the relevant Minister, to get a better understanding of the community’s position.
Should you agree to meet with us I look forward to your suggestions regarding possible times, dates and format for such a meeting.
Pobal Chill Chomáin.