"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.”
John Monaghan, a community activist from Mayo, told 2000 people at the Possibilities Event in Dublin on April 13, 2011, that he was hoping his community's struggle would be over by the time his children became teenagers. Instead, they are growing up with the dispute a part of their lives as people in the community face the giants that are Shell, Statoil, the Irish Government and a biased mainstream media (much of it owned and controlled by a man who also owns an oil exploration company - Tony O'Reilly)
If you're interested in activism, this speech is well worth listening to as much for John's tone of delivery as for his words. He displays dignity and has a way with words.
To put his speech in perspective, a week earlier Irish policemen near his home joked about raping two women environmentalists opposing Shell's pipeline plans. Under pressure, the Irish police chief apologised, but followed it up a couple of days later by saying his officers (called Gardai) were doing an excellent job overall in policing John's community. This despite the fact that 111 official complaints had been lodged with the Garda Ombudsman over the years over the brutal treatment of protesters. Not a single Garda has been punished and the Gardai who joked about "arresting and raping" protesters remain on duty (albeit confined to desk duty).
John's speech addressed the long-term aims of the campaign and he thanked the many friends and neighbours who support the campaign, as well as Shell employees who have engaged in whistle-blowing at great personal risk.
John is spokesperson for the Pobal Chill Chomain community group: http://www.shelltosea.com/content/pobal-chill-chomain-press-statement-corrib-...