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Rossport update 26.08.08 21.54

j | 26.08.2008 22:14 | Ecology | Ocean Defence | Social Struggles | World

Shell to Sea week of action extended... update on current situation
Rossport Solidarity Camp Returns to Glengad with a Fresh Call Out for Action.
… And the Shell to Sea ‘Week of Action’ (announced last week) is extended indefinitely until Solitaire pipeline work is stopped.

26.08.2008 21:54
Rossport Solidarity Camp Returns to Glengad with a Fresh Call Out for Action.

… And the Shell to Sea ‘Week of Action’ (announced last week) is extended indefinitely until Solitaire pipeline work is stopped.

Rossport Solidarity Camp was originally set up on ‘Rossport 5’ Philip McGrath’s land in 2005. In the Spring of 2006 the camp was set up again close to the beach at Glengad near the ‘landfall’ for Shell’s proposed pipeline. Following a mendacious but successful application by Mayo County Council for an order of eviction against the camp in September of 2007, the camp agreed to leave the dunes by January 1st 2008. Since then the 'camp' has organised from the Rossport Solidarity House in Pollathomas

On Saturday 16th August 2008 the camp was set up afresh for the purposes of reorganising Shell to Sea resistance to Shell's latest plans to construct its offshore section of the pipeline from Glengad out to the Corrib Gas Field. A number of actions against that work have already taken place and local, national and international supporters are returning to the area to continue the fight.

As one supporter put, "If there was ever a time to come to Mayo, this is it".

Shell to Sea are reorganising in light of Shell's current plans to develop their offshore pipeline. The Solitaire pipe-laying ship has been expected for a number of weeks now, but has delayed in coming for reasons which include weather conditions and, in the author's opinion, the stiffening of resistance to its arrival.

The new camp which was set up on Saturday 16th, with the permission of a local landowner, near the Shell compound at Glengad beach, drew swift attention from Shell security and Gardaí who joined forces on Friday 22nd and formed a line unlawfully, but only temporarily, to close off the public beach there. Because of confusion over the sole ownership of the land where the camp was based, Garda Supt. John Gilligan decided to enforce a complaint of trespass against the camp from another member of the family who lives abroad but who appears to have a substantial claim on the land. Supt. Gilligan arrived to the camp on the Friday evening to give the camp 48 hours to leave or else face threat of removal by Gardaí under Section 19 of the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act 1994, as amended by Section 24 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2002.

After some communications over the course of the weekend with Supt. Gilligan, who said he had seen land documents supporting his position but wouldn't show them, the camp decided, to cut a long story short, to leave that field and not to call his bluff by offering any resistance. We requested more time to leave which he agreed to, and on Monday afternoon the marquee and all camping equipment was moved by a tractor from that field, up to the road, and down into another field further along the shore, where we have secured permission from the sole landowner, without dispute.

Going back to an outrageous incident during the occupation of the beach by Gardaí and Shell security on Friday 22nd, a Garda bearing the number GW198, who refused to identify himself after kicking a young boy on the beach has been accused of assault by his mother who witnessed the whole incident. See more on this in the Mayo News here .

Meanwhile 'the Chief' Pat O'Donnell has been defending his 800 lobster and crab pots further out to sea in Broadhaven Bay from theft by a Shell's 'Highland Navigator' ship which has been sending an ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle), a submarine, below water to rip Pat's gear from their spot at sea where the Chief is licensed to fish. Pat's calls to the Gardaí and the ministers for justice and marine, looking for protection, have been disgracefully unheeded, and Pat and his family and friends have been on the water night and day defending their rights and their gear from Shell, who want to simply steal them and remove them from the path of the Solitaire pipe-laying ship. As I understand it, the Highland Navigator backed away from it's assault on the O'Donnells' boats after a radio call from the Chief to the H.N. skipper to stop endangering the life of his son Jonathan with his manoeuvres; an appeal which was heard by this author on VHF radio.

The Solitaire, according to this updated Marine Notice is due to arrive today or tomorrow. However, an article in today’s Irish Times by Lorna Siggins suggests that the only way to resolve this particular dispute at this stage will be to seek the ruling of a judge in the courts.