MAYO County Council kept a promise they made at their monthly meeting, when they responded ‘within a week’ to a letter lodged at the meeting by Shell to Sea – but the campaigners are unhappy with that response, accusing the Council of evasiveness and ‘stone-walling practices’.
In a letter to Ed and Imelda Moran, County Secretary Mr John Condon stated that he felt it was ‘incorrect’ for Shell to Sea to state that the Council was ignoring their correspondence as they had replied to a letter on November 7 and on December 18 when Director of Services Mr Joe Loftus wrote to the campaigners. Shell to Sea had been trying to get the Council to respond on a report from the EPA with regard to the emissions from the Shell site. Mr Condon stated, in his reply to the Morans, that if the campaigners had concerns with regard to emissions they should address these to the EPA and not the Council.
“The Council did not forward any comment to the Environmental Protection Agency (on the emissions report) nor is it obliged to do so. You will also be aware that the Integration Pollution Prevention Control Licence application is a matter for the Environmental Protection Agency and not the Council,” stated Mr Condon.
However, in their reply to the Council, the Morans accuse the authority of ‘betraying a commitment’ given by them to councillors to reply in detail to the concerns raised by Shell to Sea.
“The Council’s reply has betrayed this commitment by merely repeating the evasions and stone-walling practices of previous ‘purported’ responses. The issue is crystal clear: Mayo County Council is refusing to inform the EPA that the Environmental Impact Statement supplied by Shell to the EPA has been changed fundamentally from that supplied to Mayo County Council for the refinery Planning Permission in 2003.
“The Council has a clearly implied statutory (and moral) responsibility to notify the EPA because it knows that the content of the EIS has been changed and is, consequently, in breach of EU and Irish law.”
Mr Moran went on to say that the Council assertion that they are not obliged by law to respond to the EPA's request for comment is ‘insidiously misleading’.
“That assertion is correct only when everything is in order but, as in this case, where you know something to be seriously wrong and you fail to make that known to the appropriate authority, you are colluding with the breach of law.”
Mr Moran went on to say that the latest reply made by the Council ‘undermines the trust which we for our part, and the Cathaoirleach and councillors' for their part, placed in the commitment given to us at the Council’s last monthly meeting’.