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Press Release: ‘Lock-on’ currently stopping Shell’s work

Press Release - For Immediate Release - 03/08/11

--- Four arrested yesterday as 40 Gardaí drafted in and attempt to quash protest ---

At 9am this morning, a barrel full of concrete was moved onto the road between Shell’s Bellanaboy refinery and their new Aughoose compound, and two people including Shell to Sea spokesperson Terence Conway, locked their arms to the barrel.

Earlier in the morning, a group of campaigners had gathered at Bellanaboy from 7am and had blocked all but two of Shell’s tractors which were carrying loads to Shell’s new Aughoose compound.  Shell’s initial setup phase of the Aughoose compound has been severely impeded by continuous protests.  Rossport Solidarity Camp member Stephen Clarke this morning said “Shell’s Traffic Management Plan shows that at this point in the project there should be 159 heavy vehicle movements a day; but last week a mere 40 in total made their deliveries.”

Yesterday, up to 40 Gardaí were drafted into the area to attempt to ensure Shell’s work continued. An Garda Siochana launched more violent tactics, with 30 Gardaí running alongside each transport vehicle throwing campaigners into the verges as they ran. Despite violent repression, campaigners succeeded in stopping all Shell loads until 3:30pm.  Four arrests were made, using unnecessary force. The lawfulness of each of the four arrests is unclear.

All four were released on bail and are due to appear in Belmullet District Court on the 14th September.

Speaking from the lock-on this morning, Shell to Sea spokesperson Terence Conway stated “I’m here because of the  obvious corruption involved in Shell and Statoil’s gas project and the management of our resources.  The Gardaí are partners in crime with Shell and Statoil in attacking the community.  Despite appeals to the Garda Ombudsman, no Gardaí to date have been held accountable for these attacks despite clear evidence. “

Mr Conway continued “From all appearances, Enda Kenny and Pat Rabbitte are intent on finishing off the corrupt project Fianna Fail started.  We will continue our action to stop this project for as long as it takes”

Maura Harrington            087 9591474 
Terence Conway             086 0866264    
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.