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Big oil, small village...The politicians

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Taoiseach Enda Kenny. Photo: Collins

Taoiseach Enda Kenny. Photo: Collins

Taoiseach Enda Kenny. Photo: Collins

Taoiseach Enda Kenny spent three hours meeting with businesspeople from Belmullet - part of his constituency - when he visited on Monday to announce a new high-speed broadband line that is being wired through the Corrib pipeline. Here's what he had to say on the controversial gas terminal.

Does he think the eight years of delays at Corrib will deter other exploration companies from Ireland?

"I think lessons have been learned by everybody here. I would say that the standards employed by Shell here are of the highest order. A lot of young Irish people have gained enormous expertise and confidence as a result of being given responsibility for very sensitive issues, be they environmental or whatever, in the development of the Corrib project.

"And I would say that this facility, which cost almost €3bn, has been built in the main by Irish engineers and by Irish companies, many of them trained here in Erris. When you look at the spend by Shell in north Mayo in 2013 and 2014, it is in the region of €30m to €40m on wages and salaries."

Dara Calleary was also at the same event. He is a TD for north Mayo and a member of Fianna Fail.

"The end of construction on the pipeline, which has provided most of the jobs, is a major concern for me," he said. "We need to start planning now. There is an exceptionally good skill set here; now we need to start marketing it. North Mayo could become a national base to service offshore energy, just like Aberdeen has in Scotland."

Gerry Coyle is a county councillor for Belmullet and a member of Fine Gael.

"People talk about eyesores but I'll tell you what an eyesore is - saying goodbye to your son or daughter when they are forced to emigrate for work.

"We want to export wind and gas from Erris, not people. This region could be an energy hub. Plans are in place or being discussed for different energy projects - a hydro-energy storage facility in Glinsk, and a windfarm at a decommissioned peat bog in Bellacorrig."

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