Human Rights group calls for investigation into Corrib gas project

On Monday 18 January, Human rights group Action for Ireland (AFRI) held a conference calling for an independent enquiry into the Corrib gas project in Mayo. Afri are concerned about the human rights, environmental and economic dimensions of the controversial project. The group also expressed concern at the actions of Gardai in the area. 

An Bord Pleanála recently rejected the proposed route for the gas pipe as “unacceptable” on safety grounds and said that there has been a failure to “present a complete, transparent and adequate demonstration that the pipeline does not pose an unacceptable risk to the public”.

(Picture: Gardai arrest a protester in Mayo in 2008)

Audio from AFRI conference, Monday 18 January 2010:

Calls for a Tribunal on the Corrib Gas project:

{saudioplayer}Tribunal PC revised.mp3{/saudioplayer}

Questions are being raised about the Gardai's role in Corrib:

{saudioplayer}Afri Gardai podcast.mp3{/saudioplayer}

The board said that 5.65 kilometres of the proposed route is unacceptable due to its distance from houses if a failure occurred. It also said that the impact on the local community during the construction and operation of the development would seriously injure the residential amenities of the area and hamper the development potential of lands in Rossport. An Bord Pleanála also found that a portion of the pipeline was omitted from the application. 

The Corrib Gas Partners now have until 5 February, 2010 to submit further information and a revised environmental impact statement to An Bord Pleanála. 

Benny McCabe, a human rights monitor who has been working in Mayo said that 75 per cent of complaints against Gardai over the policing of the project were deemed credible by the Garda Ombudsman Commission. However, only one finding has been made against the Gardai and this has not been acted upon by the commissioner. 

Andy Storey of Àction for Ireland (AFRI) pointed out that the harsh public expenditure cutbacks currently being implemented could be avoided if the government took a proper shareholding in the Corrib gas field. “We are giving away hundreds of millions of euros to multinational companies at a time when our health, education and other services are being decimated”.

AFRI are asking people to sign a petition calling for an enquiry. Senator David Norris, Aengus O’ Snodaigh and Vincent Browne are among the prominent figures who have already signed the petition. 

The petition is available here