The response to the Government’s announcement last week that a new community forum is to be established to tackle the long-running Corrib gas saga has been received positively, although Shell to Sea have yet to release a statement on the matter.
Pobal Chill Chomáin welcomed in principle the establishment of the forum which will facilitate dialogue on local issues relating to the controversial project.
“None of us want to see a return to the events of this summer where the lives of members of our community were put in danger as a result of this controversial project.
“Our community has always favoured dialogue as the most effective means of solving the controversial issues in relation to this project. However, we believe that dialogue must be open, genuine and sincere in order to maximise the potential for success,” the group said in a statement.
Pobal Chill Chomáin said health and safety, the protection of the environment, community consent and the establishment of respect and trust between all key stakeholders are issues which need to be prioritised before the subject of economic development is discussed.
The Council for the West described the initiative as “timely, balanced, inclusive, comprehensive and meaningful.” Council Chairman Sean Hannick said the community forum as proposed was a holistic approach that deserved to be given a fair hearing by all interests in the region.
He said every party should be prepared to engage in a dialogue that could hold many benefits for the region, and for the country. For its part, he said the Council for the West looked upon the initiative as a new beginning, a chance for all to come together and work out their differences. Taken in the right spirit, it could represent a win-win situation for all.
Pro Gas Mayo also welcomed the forum, saying they met with both Minister Eamon Ryan and Minister Eamonn Ó Cuív during their visit to Ballina a few weeks ago.
“It behoves everybody of goodwill to participate and work with this new body, rather than rubbish it as a ‘talking shop’ and dismissing it out of hand. We are also aware that Mr Peter Cassells was engaged in a similar-type process in this regard two years ago and if all parties had worked with him the matter could have been moved forward considerably. Many of his recommendations were implemented to the benefit of Erris and Mayo.
“It is our intention to work with this forum, and we feel that now, more than ever, in those difficult economic times, this project should be completed in the interests of the area and the country generally. We also welcome the fact that any preposterous talk of moving the terminal does not arise,” Pro Gas Mayo have stated.
The Corrib Gas Partners have also reiterated their long-standing commitment to engage in constructive dialogue with any individual or groups who have genuine concerns about the project and said they would work with the forum’s chairman Mr Joe Brosnan to achieve this goal.
The Mayo branch of the Green Party this week welcomed the government’s announcement, saying “It was a promising way forward for dialogue around the Corrib Gas project as well as an opportunity to help ensure economic development and security for the area.”