Original gas pipeline was in landslide area

IN his attempted defence of Shell’s Corrib gas project in Co Mayo (Letters, December 13), Brendan Cafferty has unwittingly highlighted some of its fundamental problems.

He points out that the landslide in 2003 was miles away from the refinery site at Bellinaboy. However, as he should know, the site at Bellinaboy is eight kilometres inland and so requires miles of onshore pipeline to deliver the raw gas. The original pipeline route was in the path of the 2003 Dooncarton landslide and if there had been a rupture there, it could have devastated a large area.

To determine the safety radius for sheltered and unsheltered people, engineers must assume the maximum operating pressure of the pipeline, which was to be 345 bar. To suggest that Shell only intended to operate at lower pressures is irrelevant.

Incredibly, Mr Cafferty then draws our attention to Shell’s international safety record. It speaks for itself really.

He informs us that the bog has been removed from the refinery site.

He fails to mention, however, that the excavation exposed a layer of material rich in aluminium. The refinery site drains into Carrowmore lake — the main drinking water supply for 10,000 people. Aluminium levels in the water have been recorded at nine times over EU limits since the excavation began. While this scandal was covered by Channel 4, Irish people have been kept in the dark.

Paul Lynch

Middle Square

Macroom

Co Cork

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