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Rossport update

t | 15.08.2008 18:40 | Ecology | Social Struggles | World

update on recent events in rossport, county mayo

Update from 24th july

On the morning of the 24th July at approximately 8:00am over 40 gardaí, who are now stationed in the Shell compound, and 70 Shell specialist security forced the local community from a section of Glengad beach so that Shell could erect 10ft high fencing about 40ft down onto the beach.

Over 40 gardaí, who are now stationed in the Shell compound, and 70 Shell specialist security forced the local community from a section of Glengad beach so that Shell could erect 10ft high fencing about 40ft down onto the beach.

Using the Public Order Act, Superintendent John Gilligan ordered the crowd to leave the area and then the gardaí forcibly removed some of the protestors from the area. The members of the local community had been gathering from before 4am because they feared that Shell would begin work early as they had on the previous morning when they tore down the cliff-face to create a causeway down to the beach. Yesterday it was only the security guards who kept locals for walking on sections of the beach, today however it was a joint Garda & Shell security operation. This was very evident from Shell security managers telling gardaí where to stand and the head gardaí liaising closely with the security managers.

It all started with one of the most surreal things I have ever seen in my life with over a hundred security and garda intermixed coming down the causeway and streaming out of a thin gate in the fencing. Then they formed a cordon around where they were planning to put up the fencing and then the gardaí came in and forcibly removed the protestors who were inside the security bubble. There was little that the group of around 30 protestors could do but watch on as the fencing was erected down to the water’s edge. It is presumed that Shell will seek to extend the fencing further once the tide has gone out again. However far it extends, it already cuts the beach in two, which of course means that beach goers do not have the right of way through the beach.

Shell to Sea campaigner Terence Conway stated “The gardaí have always spoken about keeping the roads open for the public and Shell alike however today they are willing to close off a public beach so that Shell can fence it off”.

The legality of the consents given is still an issue of major concern to the people of the locality as it is still unclear what permissions Shell have received and for what exact work. While Minister for Energy Eamon Ryan has claimed that it was just an “oversight” that the latest authorisations for the project wasn’t published, this clouding of what consents have been granted has been a characteristic of the whole Corrib Project. On the Green Party website it claims that the party is for “open government and “more decision-making at community level”. Will then why has the Green Ministers contribution been about trying to hide information from the affected community and not listening and respecting the local opposition to this project. Both the Depts. of Environment and Energy seem to only give out information to journalists and ignore any other requests for information.

Shell is now attempting to construct up to the first 200m metres of the onshore section of the pipeline without it going through planning permission at all. Although the remaining 9.2km of the onshore pipeline is presently before An Bord Pleanala, this first 200m metres is due to be laid before a decision on the rest of the onshore section has been made.

Terence Conway continued ”The fact is that this first onshore section is the most dangerous part of the whole project as the pressure could be as high as 345bar and still it will not have gone through any planning if it is constructed”.

The further destruction of the SAC has continued unabated even under the eyes of the National Parks and Wildlife whose ranger monitored the sand martin colony from inside the Shell compound yesterday. Don’t worry though, I was told yesterday the sand martins about 10metres away haven’t been disturbed at all.
Related Link:

update from 29th July

The latest from Glengad beach, were Shell have occupied a section of the beach and fenced it off from the local community

From the Work Statements for the Glengad beach work that have been finally received from the Dept of Energy & Natural Resources it is clear the Shell are currently breaching a number of conditions that they themselves drew up. These Work Statements have been sought for over 3 weeks now and were only made public when journalists started complaining about the Department hiding documentation regarding the Glengad works. Some of the breaches involved are:
1. Shell stated that “a pedestrian zone will be created along the shoreline. This will allow pedestrians to access the shoreline through gates and a walkway”. This not in place so the beach is currently split in two.
2. A fair bit of litter from the work is currently being left on the beach. This litter includes steel off-cuts, ends of welding rods and disused marking rods.
3. The stone that is currently being used to create the causeway down to the water contains a lot of silt and dirt and so the water around the area is being polluted.
4. The fenced of beach section is currently about twice as wide as the drawing plans show.

Relating to the lack of a right away through the beach, yesterday a protestor crossed the fence through a section that the tide had moved and was subsequently dragged around 50m by the security. 6 security then formed a group huddle and illegally detained the protestor on the beach for over 30 minutes. The gardaí then arrived and after threatening to arrest the protestor, they drove him to the top gate and let him go. The gardaí who arrived at the scene refused to take a complaint from the protestor about the illegal detention claiming that they didn’t have the facilities there.
It is worth remembering that the permission that they are currently relying on to do the “exempted” onshore part of the work was that signed by Frank Fahy in 2002. Seeing as this section of the pipe will potentially be running at 345 bar pressure, it isn’t an exaggeration to label it the most dangerous part of the whole project. It is incredible that this pipeline section is being allowed to be covered by an exemption that precedes the 42 separate landslides that occurred in the immediate area in September 2003.

Current dredging work is also taking place about 200m off shore from the fence in which a dredger is digging the sea bed and placing the dug-up material on a barge. The barge then travels about 150 metres away and then dumps the material. Read about their sensitivity to the marine life here:

Finally the man who was injured while in Garda custody when he was arrested along with 12 others in Glengad last Tuesday is still in Castlebar hospital. Some of the arrested people say that they saw Gardaí dragging the man away by the arms and legs after he had asked for a doctor and was screaming in pain.

Todays' Irish Times has 2 articles relating to the works in Glengad
Pipe section exempted from planning approval:

'Paradise lost for residents of 'Gods own country' in Mayo:

Related Link: