The Minister for Communications, Energy & Natural Resources has said that the increased price of gas is an argument for proceeding with the Corrib gas project as soon as possible.

Pat Rabbitte said that 15 new applications for offshore licences have been received and it was important to get activity going.

Minister Rabbitte said that the continued protest against Shell was not in Ireland's interest.

Pobal Chill Comáin - a group of local Mayo residents who have campaigned against the Corrib development - have said that they are 'disappointed' at the comments.

Mary Corduff said that it was disappointing coming from the Labour Party.

Mrs Corduff said that contrary to what Mr Rabbitte said, safety concerns among locals about the project had not been satisfied and she said there was no contract in place to guarantee that Ireland would benefit from the Corrib gas.

Mary Corduff said Pobal Chill Comáin would be happy to talk to Mr Rabbitte and explain their continuing concerns if he wished.