AS 27 Shell to Sea protesters this week appear before a special sitting of Belmullet District Court, it has emerged the State will appeal a recent High Court decision allowing the courts to determine the validity of original ministerial consents granted for the Corrib project.
The Mayo News understands that among the cases to be heard by Judge Gerard Haughton in Belmullet this week relate to nine protesters barred from County Mayo and others charged with various offences allegedly committed at the landfall site at Glengad, a flashpoint for clashes last year.
Meanwhile, The Irish Times reported at the weekend that Ms Justice Mary Laffoy has agreed to put a stay on her recent decision in the event of the State appealing it.
On behalf of the State, Mr Charles Meenan indicated that ‘it was almost certain’ an appeal would proceed against Justice Laffoy’s decision rejecting the argument that north Mayo residents Brendan Philbin and Bríd McGarry were out of time to have issues relating to the 2002 ministerial consents, and other matters decided by the courts.
Mr Philbin and Ms McGarry argue it is in the public interest, and in a wider context than Corrib specifically, for the court to decide various public law issues, including whether the consent, issued by former Minister Frank Fahey in 2002, was valid.
On the other hand, Shell has claimed the ministerial consents are irrelevant now in relation to the onshore pipeline but still of ‘fundamental importance’ to the offshore section of the pipeline.
In another development The Mayo News also understands that Shell will apply later this week to the EPA to review its IPPC license (Integrated Pollution Prevention Control), originally granted in November 2007, after a lengthy oral hearing. The application is to facilitate an agreement with local fishermen to move the position of the outfall pipe from the refinery. It is proposed that the treated produced water will now be disposed of at the gas field.