UK Rossport Solidarity Feature Archive
RAGE AGAINST THE BORING MACHINE
Come to act in solidarity with the campaign in Mayo against Shell’s Corrib Gas Project. For over 12 years, the local community have been resisting Shell's plans to force through a high pressure raw gas pipeline and inland refinery. Local people have gone through all possible channels to fight the project.
Let down by the Government; many have been beaten, imprisoned and feel under siege by the security and police. However people continue to protest in order to protect their families, livelihoods and resources. Currently Shell are attempting to tunnel under an EU 'protected' estuary with their tunnel boring machine but they are experiencing major construction problems. If they are having difficulties without protests, imagine how much havoc a little more disruption will cause. Rossport is the frontline of the resistance to ‘Extreme Energy’ extraction in Ireland.
Hot on the heels of the anti-G8 protests, we warmly invite old and new faces to come join us for a week of action against Shell's disastrous project.
If you are new to taking action don’t worry - all kinds of skills and roles are needed during the week of action and you will be able to play a role that you are comfortable with. If you know the area and have ideas for action - get prepared and come with an affinity group if possible.
Links to newswire articles: Shell to Sea campaigner speaking in Bristol, Leeds & Manchester this week | Digger diving | In memory of Ogoni 9 | Community protests at Shell's profit announcement | Trucks blockaded
For 10 years there has been a struggle against the Corrib gas project in Western Ireland. For the last five years many campaigners have made the journey to show their support with the local people as they show the international oil company that they cannot have their own way. This year a critical stage is being reached and Rossport Solidarity Camp is gearing up to play its role in the continuing resistance. Read on for a history of the campaign and for information if you are planning to come across.
Important! Read this legal information if you're planning to come to Rossport.
All are welcome, open to complete beginners - no experience necessary! Accommodation & food provided, donations welcome. Call or text 08511 41170 for more details.
Shell started construction work on its highly controversial Corrib on-shore gas pipeline on 29 March, with a judicial review of the pipeline still outstanding and choosing the day that local Rossport activist Maura Harrington was due in court. The work was immediately resisted by people standing in front of and sitting on top of trucks, a lock-on by the compound gates and another blockade, all of which were dealt with violently by the gardai, causing some injuries. A security vehicle belonging to security firm IRM-S became another blockade when someone locked on underneath it all night, preventing work starting the following morning. (The murky world of IRM-S is exposed in the film The Pipe).
The following week's actions included removal of whole sections of Shell's 'bogmat' roadway and an 11 hour lock-on at the compound gate, preventing any vehicles from entering or leaving. As the lock-on was removed, more people moved in, extending the blockade. A further blockade the following day saw a Shell to Sea campaigner punched in the stomach by a garda (MY259). Meanwhile, the gardai have helpfully provided incriminating evidence about their activities and attitudes on an activist's video camera which they seized and left running before returning to its owner. The recording included gardai joking about threatening to rape activists, as well as arguing about whether or not they should bother to follow safety procedures when removing activists sitting on top of vehicles.
Read full article for background, current situation and links to reports on the newswire.
Yet another independent festival has been cancelled after a concerted campaign by bureaucrats, nimbys and the fun police.
The Grassroots Feastival is a small volunteer run event due to take place in Cambridgeshire in early September. Organisers had lined up three days of revelry, running from poetry to Drum 'n' Bass and culminating in a communal banquet replete with juggling waiters.
The Feastival faced determined opposition from the very start. According to one of the organisers, Mooney, when the application process began in January the council made it clear they would do all they could to stop the festival taking place. Martin Ford from the police licensing board went one step further and told organisers, “I'd rather put pins in my eyes than have this festival in my county.”
As SchNews reports from the new Rossport frontline
There is still plenty of ire left in Ireland as campaigners ready themselves for another summer of action against Shell and their plans to despoil the coast of County Mayo with a new gas pipeline (see SchNEWS 719). The project is already a decade late and three times over budget; pretty impressive for a small community fighting one of the biggest multinationals in the world.
On Friday the 20th September, the pipe laying ship, the Solitaire, finally left Irish waters. During the ship's time in Ireland, Shell failed to lay any part of the offshore pipe line. The departure of the Solitaire is a massive victory for the Shell to Sea campaign. Resistance in the past six weeks has taken many different forms: fishermen preventing the ship's access to the bay by refusing to move from her path, site invasions by local people and the Rossport Solidarity Camp, numerous waterborne actions to prevent work by supporters from other parts of Ireland and further afield, national and international solidarity actions and finally, an 11 day hunger strike by local campaigner Maura Harrington, that continued until the ship left Irish waters. The events of the last 6 weeks have inspired not only those involved, but also many who witnessed them from afar, new links and friendships have been forged and many lessons learned. In the aftermath, the Shell to Sea campaign can clearly be seen to have been revitalized, both locally and nationally. It is unclear when the ship will attempt to return to Broadhaven Bay. It is possible it could still be this year if repairs are quick and a suitable weather window appears, or it may not be until next spring. However, while it may be uncertain exactly when the ship will return, what is certain, is that it will meet even greater opposition upon its next arrival. Come and be part of it! The Rossport community is calling on people everywhere to put pressure on Shell, Allseas (the company that owns the Solitaire) and Irish embassies to demand that the Solitaire leaves Irish waters immediately.
Newswire: rossport solidarity action at irish consulate | The Solitaire leaves the Bayr | Rooftop occupation of Shells offices in Belmullet | Update from 11th of September | Daughter of Shell to Sea hunger striker paddles out to Solitaire | Rossport Solidarity Action in London | Rossport Solidarity Demo in London on Monday!! | Son of Shell to Sea hunger striker assaulted and arrested |Support Maura Harrington on hunger strike | Irish Embassy targetted for Rossport in Berlin | Rossport: Solidarity Action in Brighton | Rossport: The Time is Now | Rossport update | Urgent Call Out: Mayo Needs You! Now Is The Time
The week ending 31st August saw Rossport Solidarity camp reborn and the week of action against offshore pipeline work extended.
The week of action was called in anticipation of the arrival of the world’s largest pipeline ship, the Solitaire. However, due to bad weather conditions the ship’s arrival was delayed. Nonetheless, actions took place throughout the week against preparatory pipeline work, including disruption of dredging work designed to create the trench for the pipe, site invasions into Shell’s compound, and a visit by Shell to Sea kayakers to the Solitaire.
Friday the 29th of August saw better weather conditions and the arrival of the winching rig and cable and the return of the dredging machine into the bay.
The Navy also arrived (the first time the Navy has ever been used in an operation against a civil demonstration).
If the good weather holds, Shell will attempt to complete the near shore part of the pipeline in the next few days.
Believed to be booked up for the next 2 years, the Solitaire has a very short time frame to complete its part in the pipeline construction. Resistance now is crucial and the Rossport community have made a call out for people to come to the area to support the campaign. Check out feature additions and comments for regular updates.
The rest of the article outlines some of the recent history of the campaign...
Since 2000 the small rural community of Rossport, County Mayo, Ireland have been engaged in an epic battle trying to prevent Shell from building a potentially devastating onshore gas refinery and high pressure pipeline in their remote and environmentally sensitive region. Despite Shell’s status as one of the world’s largest multinationals and it’s enjoyment of the full support of the Irish state, the spirited and effective resistance of the local community means that four years after the refinery was intended to be fully operational, the project is still in its infancy.
For many different reasons the struggle is truly inspiring. The Shell to Sea campaign is fought on a multitude of levels, from the international political arena, to on the ground at the daily picket at the proposed refinery site. It has been an eventful seven years and this autumn has been no exception. Over the past few months direct action against the development has included national days of action attended by hundreds of people from around Ireland, community led direct action preventing preparatory pipeline work and regular blockading of trucks entering the refinery site by those attending the daily picket. Also during this period, campaigners were ordered to leave the two year old Rossport Solidarity Camp. Meanwhile the project has met renewed opposition from NGO’s, including the Irish National Trust, who recently spoke out publicly against the project and outlined their intention to challenge its legitimacy in the European courts.
And of course, where there is resistance, repression follows shortly after. The local court sessions have become increasingly dominated by Shell to Sea cases and protesters have been subject to dubious convictions and excessively harsh sentences, including one woman being sentenced to three months in prison for her part in a peaceful lock-on blockade. As winter sets in resistance continues. The rest of the article outlines the significant events of the last few months in more detail…
This summer has seen the Shell to Sea campaign gain increasing momentum as construction of the proposed onshore gas refinery in County Mayo, Ireland, begins. The planned refinery and the high pressure pipeline, which would supply it with unprocessed gas from the offshore Corrib gas field, have been bitterly opposed by local residents and their many national and international supporters, since it was first proposed in 2000. Shell and their partners Statoil and Marathon had hoped to have the facility in operation by 2003, but massive local resistance has meant that four years on, the development is still in its infancy.
Resistance was stepped up following the jailing of three local fishermen accused of assaulting Gardai (Police) during a Shell to Sea picket last year. On Wednesday 11th July, two years on from the jailing of the Rossport 5, these men became County Mayo’s latest political prisoners. The judge’s verdict was met with disbelief by all involved in the campaign and has resulted in an upsurge of community resistance.
On 20 November, 2006, some 20 environmental and human rights activists risked arrest by blockading a Shell petrol station in central Birmingham for over 3 hours during the morning rush hour. The direct action was taken in solidarity with the community of County Mayo, Ireland, who are resisting the construction by Shell of a dangerous and experimental gas pipeline and refinery in a beautiful and remote part of Ireland [background]. The project is yet another example of how governments (in this case, the Irish state) are putting the interests of large corporations before those of local people and the environment.
There was a large turn out for the blockade of a Shell petrol station in Nottingham, in solidarity with people opressed by Shell everywhere. The blockade was successful in terms of shutting down the petrol station, unfortunatly one of the protestors was ran over by a 4x4 driver and had been taken to hospital. Later we learned that his leg, while badly grazed and bruised, is not broken.
Plenty of leaflets were given out to motorists and passers by and plenty of honks of support were heard. The boys in yellow turned up eventually, not that they were interested in the running down of a protestor, they just wanted people to stop blocking the entrance, and in fact ignored another car which tried to force its way through.
Since late 2000 there has been an on-going attempt by multinationals and the Irish state to devastate a remote coastal area of county Mayo with a toxic refinery and a high pressure production gas pipeline. Since then there has been an ongoing struggle to keep Shell out of Mayo. Pickets, blockades, benefit gigs, demonstrations and speaking tours have been happening all over Ireland, the UK and beyond.
Since late 2000 there has been an on-going attempt by multinationals and the Irish state to devastate a remote coastal area of county Mayo with a toxic refinery and a high pressure production gas pipeline. Since the summer of 2005 mass pickets shut down the refinery construction site after five residents were imprisoned for refusing to allow Shell’s sub-contractors access to their and their neighbours' small farms which the pipeline is to go through.
In August Shell announced that they intended to re-take the site in September, however during that month over a hundred people would gather at the gates when ever there was indications that such an attempt was to be made. Shell failed in September, but on the third of October a massive two hundred strong police unit forced a path for Shell. This week there have been sporadic sit down blockades of construction traffic and solidarity protests have taken place in locations across Britain and Ireland.
Reports from Mayo: Interview with Rossport Solidarity Camper | Rossport - Shell to Sea Video Report | S2S Oct 12 - 3 arrested in Mayo, Dempsey cornered in Galway | Bellanaboy, Community Under Siege - Day 11
Stop the Shell Pipeline! Protests have taken place in Ireland, England, Scotland and Sweden to publicise the campaign ahead of the re-opening of Rossport Solidarity Camp, a protest camp supporting a community based struggle against Shell in the West of Ireland. On Friday 17th there was a Rossport Solidarity Demo in Liverpool, a critical mass style bike ride and occupation of Shell garages happened on Saturday in Nottingham [picture reports 1 | 2] and in north London London Rising Tide organised a blockade of a Shell garage which was closed for four hours [reports 1, 2] [ Video]. Listen to an audio report recorded at the Rising Tide Solidarity action 1]. All this coincided with a Rossport Solidarity Camp speaking tour of Scotland and England. Meanwhile in Ireland, the doors to Shell's main offices in Dublin were D locked shut, there was also a blockade of a Statoil garage in Cork and two solidarity meetings.
In Rossport Irish residents & supporters continue to obstruct the building of a dangerous gas pipeline. Last year five men from Rossport were jailed for contempt of court for refusing to obey the High Court order not to interfere with the construction of the Corrib gas pipeline. They were expected to be back at the High Court also on Friday 17th, potentially facing more time in jail. In November '05 the Rossport Five were released after 94 days in jail.Click the 'Full Article' link for more
The oil giant shell continues to ride rough shod over local communities from Nigeria to Co Mayo in Ireland. It sponsors human rights abuses, funds testing on animals at research labs' like HLS and destroys the environment. Soon work on the pipeline being built in Co Mayo Ireland will start again. It will poison the local area, endanger residents and further add to climate chaos. In solidarity with the struggles against Shell around the world, a critical mass of over 30 bikes and a mobile sound system rode through Nottingham today, highlighting the evils of Shell to motorists and passers by.Hundreds of leaflets were handed out outside of the Shell petrol station forecourt on Woodsde road and the A52. The entrances and exits were blocked for over an hour.
In November 1995, nigerian writer and activist Ken Saro-Wiwa and 8 of his colleagues, were executed by Nigeria's military regime for campaigning against the devastation of the Niger delta by oil multi-national Shell. Yesterday, activists from London Rising Tide and supporters dropped nine nooses infront of the Shell UK headquarters on London's South Bank to highlight the anniversary of Saro-Wiva's murder. The demonstrators also highlighted the current struggle on the north west of Ireland, where Shell is set to transform a remote conservation area in County Mayo into an environmental disaster zone which carries serious public health and safety implications.
See Reports and Photos: 1 | 2. Videos: 1 | 2
Two participants in Rossport Solidarity Camp will be on a speaking tour of Britain in November and will speak in Nottingham at the International Community Centre, 61b Mansfield Road on the 10th November. The talk starts at 7pm and is free.