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News release: Nineteen on trial for blocking Shell’s Corrib gas project

News release - Issued by Mayo Shell to Sea

Nineteen on trial for blocking Shell’s Corrib gas project
- Campaigners face 80 charges in special court sitting over civil disobedience in Co. Mayo -

At 10.30am this Monday 20th of February nineteen campaigners will arrive at Belmullet District Court to face 80 charges arising from protests against Shell’s Corrib Gas Project in Co. Mayo. This unprecedented volume of civil disobedience charges is all scheduled to be dealt with within one week.

The protests in question took place between March 2011 and February 2012 and involve protestors temporarily blocking Shell haulage trucks. Blockading was carried out by campaigners congregating in large groups at Shell's site entrances, by walking on roads or by locking themselves to concrete barrels.

Mayo Shell to Sea spokesperson Terence Conway - one of the campaigners due to appear before the court for blockading Shell haulage - said, “Shell and their private security company IRMS have assaulted and detained people openly on our local roads. Peaceful campaigners are now on trial for blocking Shell trucks, while IRMS face no charges. This is a clear indication of the corruption at the heart of the Corrib Gas project.”

He continued, “The defendants on trial are among thousands who have pledged their solidarity with our campaign. They have stood with us to oppose the safety risks and environmental destruction inherent in the flawed Corrib gas Project, not to mention the economic treason regarding the giveaway of our oil and gas resources.”

Mr. Conway concluded, ”We have witnessed a Garda policy of not arresting local people or not prosecuting local people. Instead Gardaí have been arresting and prosecuting our supporters. This policy is an attempt to deter support and isolate our community.”


Terence Conway!/ShellToSea

The Shell to Sea Campaign has three main aims:

1) That any exploitation of the Corrib gas field be done in a safe way that will not expose the local community in Erris to unnecessary health, safety and environmental risks.

2) To renegotiate the terms of the Great Oil and Gas Giveaway, which sees Ireland’s 10 billion barrels of oil equivalent* off the West Coast go directly to the oil companies, with the Irish State retaining a 0% share, no energy security of supply and only 25% tax on profits against which all costs can be deducted.

3) To seek justice for the human rights abuses suffered by Shell to Sea campaigners due to their opposition to Shell’s proposed inland refinery.
*This figure is based on the estimate, issued by the Department of Communications, Energy & Natural Resources (DCENR) in 2006, that the amount of recoverable oil and gas in the Rockall and Porcupine basins, off Ireland’s west coast, is 10 BBOE (billion barrels of oil equivalent). Based on the average price of a barrel of oil for 2010 of $79, this works out at $790 billion, or €580 billion. This does not take account of further oil and gas reserves off Ireland’s south & east coasts or inland. The total volume of oil and gas which rightfully belongs to Ireland could be significantly higher. Also, as the global price of oil rises in the coming years, the value of these Irish natural resources will rise further.