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Corrib hearing to run into fifth week

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Corrib hearing to run into fifth week


Anton McNulty

The Bord Pleanala Corrib gas oral hearing in Belmullet will run into its fifth week with closing submissions expected to start today (Tuesday) and the process is expected to conclude at the end of the week.
The oral hearing into Shell E&P Ireland’s application for the last section of the Corrib high pressure gas pipeline was expected to take three weeks to complete but has been extended on two occasions.
Over the course of the hearing which has been led by board inspector Martin Nolan, a number of submissions have been made for and against the pipeline. The 4.9km subsea tunnel proposed for Sruwaddacon estuary which will be one of the last sections of the Corrib gas pipeline will be one of the longest of its kind in Western Europe.
Meanwhile Shell have resumed investigations work on the proposed new Corrib pipeline route following a suspension of activity when three Shell to Sea campaigners occupied one of the drilling rigs in Sruwaddacon Bay for 19 hours.
The incident took place on Wednesday afternoon, September 22 when three protesters climbed the legs of the drilling rig at 12.30pm and disrupted work on the rig. This was the second time in three days that protesters have suspended drilling work taking place in the bay - which is a Special Area of Conservation.
The incident ended on Thursday morning when Gardaí removed the protesters from their perches on the legs of the platform. The protesters were equipped with food, water and a hammock and stayed in their positions from Wednesday afternoon.
At 7am on Thursday morning, one of the protesters came down voluntarily but the other two protesters remained in their position. The Garda water unit issued a warning to the other remaining protesters to leave the area but when they refused, they were removed by the Gardaí.
Both campaigners were brought to Belmullet Garda Station where they were later released without charge. It is understood a file is being prepared for the DPP.