Mayo councillors hopeful of a compromise on some aspects of the dispute between Shell and five men imprisoned for contempt of court.

Last month Mayo County Council rejected a motion calling on Shell to process the gas from the Corrib field off shore. Today two members of the council travelled to Cloverhill Prison in Dublin to meet the five men, Vincent and Philip McGrath, Willie Corduff, James Brendan Philbin and Micheál Ó Seighin, to try and resolve the situation. 

After their meeting with the Rossport Five, Councillor Paddy McGuinness said that the men are prepared to purge their contempt of court if Shell lifts the current injunction. He was optimistic that agreement could be reached between the two parties at some stage, 

They are prepared to examine and debate and discuss possibilities that would improve the health and safety aspects of their current proposal. 

In a statement Shell ENP Ireland Ltd said it appreciated confirmation that the five would purge their contempt, but said legal impediments to the removal of the temporary High Court injunction remain.  

The five men are in prison for failing to comply with a court injunction which forbids them obstructing work undertaken by oil company Shell on a pipeline running through land belonging to some of them.

Supporters of the men also visited them today. Dr Mark Garavan of the Shell To Sea group expressed frustration at the proposal put forward by Mayo County Council,  

It is simply unreasonable to expect people who are in prison to engage in any form of discussions. 

This is the men's ninth week in prison. In spite of today’s developments it does not look likely that there will be much change before either they or Shell return to the High Court. 

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 24 August 2005. The reporter is Niamh Nolan.