The location where the fishing boat sank is approximately 10 miles away from our worksite at Glengad. All boats and personnel - both operational and security ­- working in the bay on SEPIL's behalf in the early hours of this morning are accounted for and none was in the vicinity of the Iona Isle when it sank. In fact, three vessels working for the project responded to the distress signal.

A number of malicious allegations have been made against SEPIL and its security contractors in recent weeks. These claims are designed to cast doubt on the integrity of the project and the personnel working on it, but have no basis in fact. To our knowledge no complaints have been made to the gardai.

In addition the Corrib project and some local suppliers, have in the past two months, been subjected to acts of criminal damage and lawlessness by protestors, most of whom are from outside the Erris area.

The increasingly reckless attempts to frustrate the works are putting staff, contractors, the gardai and the protestors in potential danger.

The Corrib gas project, which is currently employing more than 1,500 people in Mayo, Donegal and Dublin is of strategic importance to Ireland.

Despite the repeated attempts to disrupt, SEPIL is committed to completing works for which all the necessary permits and consents have been granted, in a safe and environmentally sustainable manner.