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Shell vows to restart gas project despite protest

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Shell E&P Ireland has said it is its "firm intention" to return to work at the Corrib gas terminal at Bellanaboy, Co Mayo, following yesterday's protest in which company workers were blocked from gaining access to the site.

The company has also offered additional payments of €10,000 annually to landowners on the onshore pipeline route, who are all eligible for small compensation amounts under compulsory acquisition orders.

Documents seen by The Irish Times show that one landowner in the Glengad area close to the pipeline was offered the additional money within the last month for crop loss and disturbance.

The company was unable to comment on the offer yesterday.

It had signalled last week that it intended to resume work at the terminal site before finalising any agreement on a new pipeline route. Work was suspended at the site following last year's jailing of five men opposed to the onshore pipeline.

At yesterday's protest, a rising chorus of prayer drowned the words of a garda superintendent as he sought access to Bellanaboy for Shell workers.

Some 100 protesters recited the Rosary from about 8am onwards until Supt Joseph Gannon, officer in charge of the Belmullet Garda district, instructed work crews to leave the area.

It is understood Shell will make a further attempt in the next few days to enter the site - possibly backed up this time by increased Garda numbers or even Army members...

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