"The Government have clearly sent the message to Shell, ‘you can do whatever you want’. Fortunately due to protest, the refinery remains unconnected to the gas field. If, as Shell planned, gas had been flowing by now, we would potentially all be dealing with a gas leak and explosion.”
Community under siege:
SHELL TO SEA PRESS RELEASE 03/10/2007
We are gathered here this morning to mark the one-year anniversary of the illegally conducted occupation of our community, carried out by our own state forces on behalf of Shell and their so-called Corrib gas partners.
Twelve months ago today hundreds of Gardai were drafted into the parish of Kilcommon to enforce Shell's desire to resume operations on this disputed project, after a peaceful blockade had halted works here for fifteen months without incident.
In a cynical move to criminalise the community, Gardaí were ordered to push the protests away from Shell's gates and onto the public road. Once on the road, we were pushed and kicked, thrown over bridges and into ditches.
Vicious verbal and physical attacks, including the use of batons, were intended to frighten people away, and put an end to legitimate demonstration, in what is still a private dispute between the developers and the community over a project that is fundamentally experimental. We simply refuse to be the guinea pigs.
It has been proved time and again that there is no scheme like this anywhere in the developed world. Shell, Statoil and Marathon have consistently failed to show another project where a high-pressure raw-gas pipeline travels through unstable ground, through a populated area, to an inland refinery, next to a major drinking-water supply.
Because of these facts the Corrib gas project, as proposed, does not and will never have community consent. We do not oppose development, but neither can we support development at any cost.
It is time for our public representatives to do their job. We are here exercising and protecting our basic human rights, because those charged with this task have failed to represent us.
In a statement last week, our Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern, on behalf of the Irish people, had this to say about the current situation in Burma;
"I am gravely concerned … that .. the … regime have today deployed troops onto the streets … who have used batons … to break up peaceful demonstrations, and that hundreds … have been arrested. The use of physical force … against … unarmed civilians, who have committed their lives to the path of non-violence, and who are simply exercising the basic right of freedom and expression in a peaceful manner, is unacceptable and deeply shocking. All people of conscience throughout the world … must condemn the use of force against unarmed civilians, demonstrating peacefully and demand the utmost restraint".
All we ask is that the same principles apply here in Ireland, and until our voice is heard and understood, our protest will continue.