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Rossport Solidarity Camp eviction latest

xx | 06.08.2007 12:21 | Rossport Solidarity

Update on eviction threat to Rossport Solidarity Camp

After over eighteen months of providing a base for activists supporting the local Shell to Sea campaign, the Rossport Solidarity Camp was served notice to quit by Mayo County Council two weeks ago. For the past year and a half the council has accepted the camp's existence without complaint. It seems no coincidence that the council's moves to evict the camp come at a time when Shell has been extensively surveying the estuary that runs alongside the camp in preparation for pipeline development. It is likely that pressure has been applied on the council to evict now to minimize the risk of disruption to the laying of the pipeline.

On Tuesday the 31st July, representatives from the camp attended a court hearing in Castlebar. Following submissions from the camp's barrister regarding due process and the lack of time given to the camp to prepare a case, the judge reluctantly agreed to adjourn the case until September the 3rd. However, in the meantime he imposed an ‘interim order of injunction’ which allows only two camp members to remain living on site. Notably, prior to the hearing, the legal representatives of both parties had agreed terms for an adjournment that allowed more people to remain on camp. The case is essentially a civil dispute and the judge's imposition of more stringent terms is indicative, once again, of the partiality of the judiciary with regard to Shell to Sea cases.

The primary function of the camp is to provide a space for people to support the local campaign in resisting Shell. This can be done most effectively if we have a secure base to work from. Consequently, at present, we have decided to vacate the camp in accordance with the judge's order. In an effort to be prepared for the different potential scenarios we could face, we have sought out possible alternative locations for the camp. Some people in the campaign will continue to fight the eviction through the courts and after the hearing in September we will assess our options.

Community support following the eviction order has been overwhelming. Within a week an impressive fundraising effort had been initiated and we had offers of several houses and fields to relocate to. We have also had help with moving, cleaning, decorating and furnishing. Thanks to such incredible local assistance, one of these houses has been fixed up in the last week and is now being used as the temporary Rossport Solidarity Camp base. Over the next few weeks we hope to make several other locations inhabitable.

Two weeks ago our situation seemed dire. Today, the spirit of the camp is vibrant. It is clear that resistance here will not be hampered by repression. So, while we’re sad to be temporarily giving up our beautiful seashore home, the Rossport Solidarity Camp lives on - albeit in a slightly less rustic form. As before, visitors are always welcome.