Any potential risk from the Corrib gas pipeline off Ireland's west coast has been "overstated", according to representatives from Shell.
On the final day of the An Bord Pleanála hearing into the final phase of the pipeline, the oil company's senior counsel moved to assure a concerned public that the project was designed to "the highest safety standards".
"No other Irish development proposal has been subject to such an amount of study and surveys over such a period of time,” said Esmonde Keane at the hearing in Belmullet, Co Mayo on 1 October.
The Corrib project involves the development of a gas field west of the Mullet Peninsula, including the construction of a pipeline to the mainland and a coastal processing plant. The mainland phase of the plan has attracted much concern among local residents.
Two opponents of the project, environmental consultant Peter Sweetman and Monica Muller, a local resident, walked out of the hearing in protest over Keane's closing remarks, arguing that they were intended as “a legal submission”.