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OECD responds to community complaints about Corrib

OECD responds to community complaints about Corrib

Áine Ryan

AN INQUIRY by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) into complaints about the Corrib gas project last week found that Shell has ‘shown a willingness to address health and safety concerns, of which the revised route for the onshore part of the pipeline seems the clearest proof’.
The report states that Government compliance with EU legislation on the various Corrib gas consents is not under its remit. The OECD ‘final statement’, which refers widely to former Government appointed mediator, Peter Cassells’ 2006 report, also failed to find sufficient grounds for further mediation between Shell and the local community.
However, it does acknowledge that dialogue with local stakeholders during the early stages of the  project failed to meet the ‘spirit’ of OECD guidelines.
It also notes that enterprises have a responsibility to go beyond what is legally required in consulting with communities.
Community group, Pobal Chill Chomáin has expressed its disappointment with the outcome and argues that OECD representatives should have visited the area and consulted with residents before reaching its conclusions. There were just three meetings held with OECD representatives, none of which were in north Mayo, since Pobal Chill Chomáin made its application. 
Pobal Chill Chomáin argues that an investigation on the ground would have provided an opportunity ‘to value the statements on stakeholder consultation made and to assess the reliability of Peter Cassells’s findings regarding the views of the community in relation to the project’.
OECD guidelines are non-binding recommendations made to multinationals by government members of the organisation. They provide principles of good practice, including environmental standards.
Meanwhile, protestors – using kayaks –  continued to hamper boreholing operations by Shell in Sruwaddacon Bay over the weekend.
An Bord Pleanála will reopen an oral hearing about new aspects of the proposed pipeline on August 24 next.