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Shell offices blockaded by protest from 7.30am

PRESS RELEASE - 04 July 2011

An ongoing blockade has today closed Shell’s offices in Belmullet, Co. Mayo

This morning from 7.30am members of the local community and supporters from Rossport Solidarity Camp shut down Shell’s office in Belmullet, Co. Mayo. The ongoing protest is to demonstrate that the company does not have consent to start its planned works on the onshore raw gas pipeline through the area.

The blockade follows a weekend of lively talks and discussions at a ‘People’s Forum’ at Inver Community Hall. On Saturday over 60 people from the local area were addressed by a panel of speakers which included Dr. Kieran Allen (UCD),  Harry Browne (DIT), retired Rossport NS Principal Niall King, human rights campaigner Sr. Majella McCarron, economist Colm Rapple and Mrs. Joy Phido, President of the Movement for the Survival of the Oogoni People.

Speaking on Saturday Mrs. Phido urged the community, “You have to be strong. They were already in our midst, they had already started taking billions and billions of barrels of oil out of our country and we knew nothing about it. We were in abject poverty – and yet so much money was taken out of the country. At least you have the option of knowing that this is happening here”

The Forum marked 10 years of resistance to the Corrib Gas project and the 10th anniversary of the People’s Forum Seminar ‘Corrib Gas – Great Gas For Whom?’ held in 2001.

At the protest this morning, Terence Conway, spokesperson for Mayo Shell to Sea said, “The similarities between Nigeria and Ireland are striking. In Nigeria under a dictatorship Shell worked and state security forces worked together to attack the Nigerian people. The same collaboration is happening here.  In Nigeria and Ireland Shell have used pay-offs to different groups to give the illusion of consent and that they are good for the community. As the Erris fishermen have found out, when Shell no longer needed them, they have discarded them”

Glenamoy resident Tina Healy attending the protest this morning stated, “ It is six years this week since the jailing of the Rossport Five, and the people of Erris are still living under Shell’s laws”.

Just before lighting a candle in memory of the Oogoni Nine at Inver Community Hall on Friday evening, Mrs. Phido appealed to the community filling the hall, “Coming here, I was looking at the serene, beautiful environment [of Sruwaddacon] – you can’t by that with money – and you are going to let them get in? Even if you are the last person here – you are not going to let them get in. The Oogoni gave their lives for it; you are going to do whatever it takes”



Terence Conway            086 0866264      

Maura Harrington            087 9591474      

Rossport Solidarity Camp            085 1141170  


The Shell to Sea Campaign has three main aims:

1) 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.