"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.”
News release - Issued by Shell to Sea
Friday, January 13th 2012
In the latest reckless behaviour in dealing with Corrib protesters, Shell contractor Lennon Quarries used a water cannon on peaceful protesters. The seven campaigners had gone to Lennon Quarry to protest against the quarry providing stone to Shell for their attempt to build a 5km tunnel under Sruwaddacon estuary. The high powered water jet usually used as a dust suppression water tanker was trained on the protesters for about 10 minutes, as six of them occupied the tops of a digger and a truck.
This follows another reckless incident on Tuesday, in which a Garda used an angle grinder within millimeters of a protesters neck, as she lay 20ft up in the air, locked to the arm of a tree cutter.
Commenting on the latest incidents, Maura Harrington said “Shell loves to talk about Health & Safety, but it doesn't exist as far as the proposed Corrib project is concerned. The police use of an angle grinder, last Tuesday, was both reckless and negligent. The police and Shell's private army – IRMS are out of control.”
Terence Conway stated “These protests were entirely peaceful acts of civil disobedience against Shell's plans, however the response to them illustrate a lack of respect for the safety of protesters. We have seen a marked difference in the attitudes of both Shell security and subcontractors, and also Gardaí, since the Amnesty monitoring programme of the protest ended in November.”
While the protesters had engaged politely with the quarry workers during the protest yesterday, when quarry owner TJ Lennon arrived, he punched two protesters in the face and broke one video camera. A Garda refused to take a statement regarding the assaults at the scene.
Photos of the incidents can be viewed here:
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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.