AS the documentary film, ‘The Pipe’, wins another international award for its portrayal of the Corrib gas controversy, An Taisce prepares for next week’s High Court hearing regarding key final consents for the project.
Risteard Ó Domhnaill’s film was the recipient of the Environment Award at the Reykjavik International Film Festival, presented by Iceland’s Minister for the Environment, Svandís Svavarsdóttir, over the weekend.
Speaking at the ceremony, Ó Domhnaill (pictured with the award) dedicated the award to the people of Iceland for ‘standing up to the politicians and private interests who brought their country to the brink of economic disaster due to their greed and arrogance’.
He outlined how ‘the failure of politics and regulation, embedded in the roots of the Corrib project, was a microcosm of the massive problems which developed in Ireland and Iceland before our respective economic crises’. He noted that the responses of the two governments had been ‘very different’, and said it is ‘time for our public representatives to finally face up to the root causes of the Corrib conflict’.
The jury citation noted that: “Although a local story from a remote area, it speaks to us in a bigger context. ‘The Pipe’ is a film that talks to our times and has a rendezvous with the future.”
While ‘The Pipe’ has put the spotlight on the Erris region since its premiere at the Galway Film Fleadh and on TG4 last year, the national trust, An Taisce, along with the local community, continue their protest through legal avenues.
Earlier this year, An Taisce instituted Judicial Review proceedings about consents issued by the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (DCENR). On February 25 last, the day of the General Election, outgoing Minister Pat Carey granted a key consent for the project under the new Section 40 (Gas Act 1976, amended) and the Plan of Development (Petroleum and Other Minerals Development Act 1960). Earlier, the trust had instituted similar proceeding about An Bord Pleanála’s permission for the last section of the pipeline.
‘An Taisce is not anti-development’
Chairman of An Taisce, Charles Stanley-Smith said: “An Taisce is not anti-development or anti-Corrib – we simply wish to see the development done and consents granted in accordance with European Law … [we are also] concerned with the implications that the approach to consents taken here by the Department will have for other decisions and developments, if not challenged.”
Barred from Dáil meeting
Meanwhile, the Parish Priest of Kilcommon has criticised the fact that members of the protesting community who travelled to Dáil Éireann last week were prohibited from entering the public gallery during an Oireachtas Committee meeting on natural resources.
Father Michael Nallen said: “There was no logic in the decision to prevent us observing the committee meeting in its discussion on natural resources. All we came to do was observe the workings of the committee, and the people who were turned away were not participating in any protest. We, at the very least, deserve a proper explanation and an apology for the way we were treated. This is not credible democracy.”
The group included a delegation of Shell to Sea supporters.