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‘Pipe’ director looks to screen award-winning gas film across US communities

Emigrant Online

Dear Editor,

I am the director of a documentary film on the community at the center of Shell's Corrib Gas Project in Co. Mayo, Ireland. In 2005, five local men were jailed for 94 days for stopping Shell from entering their land to lay a high pressure, raw gas pipeline. Since then, the small farming and fishing village of Rossport has been in turmoil, with hundreds of gardaí and private security deployed against a small community to force this natural gas project through against their will.

The film is a microcosm of how our political leaders and regulators put the resources of the state at the behest of huge private interests, with devastating consequences for the ordinary people. The oil and gas resources off the west coast of Ireland have been handed over to the oil companies for a song and a small community, with the second lowest crime rate in the country, has been attacked by a government whose duty it is to protect them. Our documentary The Pipe follows three members of this community, farmers and fishermen, who try to come to terms with a project which could bring economic prosperity, or, destroy a way of life shared for generations.

The Pipe has already screened at a number of US and Canadian festivals to sold-out venues, and now we are looking to screen the film in communities across North America. The story of the Rossport community’s battle with Shell has a particular resonance for a lot of American communities who are affected by similar massive energy developments and their consequences - be they fishing communities in Louisiana dealing with the Gulf oil spill; farmers in Nebraska affected by the Keystone pipeline; residents in New Jersey fearful of the Spectra pipeline; communities dealing with the effects of gas fracking on their water supply; or people who are concerned with the environmental impacts of tar sands developments and arctic drilling.

With this in mind we would like to screen the film more widely in the US to raise awareness of the ongoing situation in Rossport, and also to show other communities how this small group of villagers has taken on the might of the oil giant Shell - holding up its operations for the past 10 years - and still maintained their dignity, resilience and sense of humor whilst under the most awful pressure.

In Rossport, despite the success of the local people and their vindication through the courts and planning processes, Shell has been given permission by the government to complete the onshore pipeline. Unfortunately this will mean more conflict and turmoil in the community, and the prospect of families having to live in close proximity to the high pressure pipeline and refinery, with very little regulation forced on Shell by our government.

If people would like to screen The Pipe in their community, please email me at and I would be delighted to work with people to publicize it in their area. A small donation or screening fee would be very welcome to help us with the cost of getting the story out to a wider audience. I would like to thank people across the US and Canada for all the help and support we have received so far.

Is mise le meas,

Risteard Ó Domhnaill

The Pipe, which won an Irish Film and Television (IFTA) award in February, was chosen as Best Documentary at the Galway International Film Fleadh, the Foyle Film Festival, the Boston Irish Film Festival and the Arizona Film Festival, and was the opening night feature at the Washington Environmental Film Festival.

Posted Date: 
21 August 2011