Minister for Energy Eamon Ryan has said he will not be asking Shell Ireland to change the location of its controversial onshore gas terminal in Co Mayo.

The Minister was speaking as fresh efforts got under way to end the long running dispute over the Corrib Gas project.

The first meeting of the new Forum for Development in North West Mayo - which is hoping to break the deadlock in the Corrib Gas dispute - got off to an uncertain start today.

Three groups who are opposing the project on health and safety grounds boycotted the meeting, which was held behind closed doors.

The Shell to Sea campaign organised an alternative public forum.

Pobal Cill Comainn and Pobal Le Chéile are also staying away from the meeting.

All of the groups say the Government-sponsored forum does not address the central issues of the location and design of the gas refinery at Bellanaboy and the route of a controversial pipeline.

They also condemned what they described as the giveaway of our natural resources at a time of economic crisis.

But the move has been welcomed by Shell Ireland. The locally-based Mayo pro gas lobby group says it is an opportunity to move forward.

Minister Eamon Ryan said the terminal had been given all of the legal consents and he would not be asking Shell to change its location. He said he hoped that progress could still be achieved through the forum.

The new effort at reconciliation is being headed by Joe Brosnan, a former Secretary General at the Department of Justice and a member of the Northern Ireland Independent Monitoring Commission.