- McGarr Solicitors act in High Court proceedings for Brendan Philbin and Brid McGarry, (the 2nd and 5th Defendants) in the Corrib Gas Pipeline case.
- Shell E & P Ireland Ltd issued proceedings against, inter alia, our clients seeking a permanent injunction and damages to assert the claim of Shell to be entitled to place a high pressure natural gas pipeline on the clientsâ lands in County Mayo.
- In the course of the proceedings Shell applied to the High court for an order of committal against Brendan Philbin and others, as a consequence of which he was committed to prison for 94 days.
- The 2nd and 5th Defendants have counterclaimed in the proceedings against Shell and the Irish State for, inter alia, damages for breach of their property rights.
- To press their claims against Shell and the State, the 2nd and 5th defendants sought an order for discovery of certain documents from Shell and the State.
- On 31st July 2006 the High Court ordered Shell (the Plaintiff) and the State (defendants to the Counterclaims of the 2nd and 5th defendants) to make discovery of specified documents to Brendan Philbin and Brid McGarry, the 2nd and 5th Defendants respectively.
The Plaintiff and the State were obliged to deliver the affidavits of discovery within 6 weeks of 31/7/06.
- Each of the Plaintiff and the State have failed to comply with the order.
- On 12th September 2006 McGarr solicitors acting for the 2nd and 5th Defendants advised the Plaintiff and the State that they were in default and advised a motion would issue to strike out the Plaintiffâs claim and the Stateâs defence respectively in the event of continued default.
- The Plaintiff and the State remained on default and on 22nd September 2006 McGarr solicitors issued a motion seeking to have the Plaintiffâs claim and its defence to the counterclaim of the 2nd and 5th defendants struck out and similar relief against the State in respect of its defence.
- The Plaintiff has responded by issuing a motion seeking an extension of time within which to comply with the order. It has also revealed that it intends to apply to the court for leave to discontinue its action agains all the defendants. It says it is actuated by motives connected with the desire to consult with the people of Rossport. However, it says it intends to install the Corrib gas upstream pipeline on a new route lying somewhere between the planned pipeline landfall and the Bellanaboy refinery site. It says it cannot currently define that route.
It has offered to pay costs to date to the 2nd and 5th defendants if they discontinue their conterclaims. If not, the Plaintiff will defend the counterclaims and seek to set off the costs of (successfully) doing so against the costs which the 2nd and 5th defendants might be awarded by the courts as a result of the discontinuance by Shell.
- Currently the Plaintiff is not agreeable to meet the concerns of the 2nd and 5th defendants regarding the safety of the pipeline due to its planned pressurisation.
- Currently the 2nd and 5th defendants understand the Plaintiff will not or cannot confirm their property will not form part of the ânew routeâ?.
- Currently the 2nd and 5th defendants understand the Plaintiff may avail of legislation (undefined and possibly yet to be enacted) to permit it to install its ânewâ? pipeline
When these matters came on for hearing in the High Court in the Four Courts in Dublin on 28/9/06 Shell were given leave to issue a Motion seeking leave of the court to discontinue its action. Only two of the defendants, agreed to the discontinuance. The Motion of the 2nd and 5th defendants was adjourned to that date, also for hearing.
- Through their lawyers, the 2nd and 5th defendants asserted that the move by Shell was a vindication of them; that Shell had unilaterally decided on its course of action immediately after the making of the order for discovery in favour of the 2nd and 5th defendants and not for other reasons, and had previously had no compunction in prosecuting its wrongful claims, to seek, successfully, the imprisonment of Brendan Philbin in jail for 94 days.
- The 2nd and 5th defendants denied that Shellâs case was âredundantâ? as claimed by its counsel. They asserted that their constitutional rights had been infringed by Shell and a unilateral discontinuance, allegedly to meet the concerns of the people of Rossport, should not be countenanced.