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New MD for Corrib as protesters decline Oireachtas Committee invite

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New MD for Corrib as protests groups decline Oireachtas Committee invite


Áine Ryan


SHELL has announced the appointment of a new Managing Director of the controversial Corrib gas project as local protest groups yesterday declined an invitation to contribute to a Joint Oireachtas Committee hearing on offshore resources and their exploration.
A Canadian native, born to Irish parents, Michael Crothers is set to take over from  Terry Nolan, on December 1 next. Mr Nolan, who held the position for four years, announced his intention to retire some weeks ago. He said he was ‘hugely proud’ of the ‘many collective achievements’ attained by both the partners and contractors at Corrib.
“I would also like to thank the people of Erris for their welcome and support and for the many challenges they have raised,” Terry Nolan said.
His successor, Michael Crothers has worked all over the globe in the oil and gas industry over a 28-year period, 24 of which have been with Shell. His most recent role was as General Manager of Expansion Operations for Shell’s upstream business in the Americas. He has also worked in London as Vice President of Health, Safety, Environment and Sustainable Development for Shell’s downstream business. He will divide his time between the Dublin  and Erris offices.
Mr Crothers takes the helm as Shell prepares for the final phase of the operation, which involves the building of the longest sub-sea raw gas pipeline in western Europe. Challenges by An Taisce and local residents to key consents for this final phase were settled in the High Court recently.
Local community group, Pobal Chill Chomáin has strongly criticised the decision of the national trust to make a settlement and now claims the project is in a legal limbo.
Moreover, they wrote to the chairman of the Joint Oireachtas Committee for communications, Natural Resources and Agriculture yesterday (mon) declining an invitation to participate in a session to be held next week (Tuesday 29).
In the letter, Vincent McGrath, the Pobal chairman, states that the group’s key concerns for the ‘health and safety of the community’ had not been addressed in a multitude of fora and settings.
“No integrated, cumulative risk assessment has ever been conducted on this project. Laws have been changed, standards amended, European rules ignored in order to advance the project,“ Mr McGrath wrote.
He also said he wished to ‘to highlight the State’s facilitation of the project at every level, the criminalisation of our legitimate protests and the resultant human rights violations documented in several national and international human rights reports. We have been consistently excluded from having these issues properly and fully addressed’.  
Maura Harrington of Shell to Sea also confirmed they will not contribute either. Pro-Gas Mayo also received an invitation to the committee meeting.