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Shell to sea Day of action in solidarity with rossport 17th Febuary

Saoirse Bennett

Day of action in solidarity with rossport 17th Febuary.

Myself & a fellow activist from occupy Dame street got to the bus from parnell square to Rossport co.mayo travelling over six hours, we got a chance to speak to a couple of people on the bus guessing what to expect as never been to the rossport camp,we were told the guidlines how the camp runs etc, concencus and safer space policies, how to deal with the guards,only give your name and address when arrested which you have the right to.We arrived in Mayo late night with over twenty people on our Dublin bus half went to the rossport camp house then the rest of us to a lovely couple from the local communities house who supports shell to sea, it was an old cottage home, they lived in the house next door meaning ten of us got our own space which made us feel ever so welcomed. we got off to bed late due to our late arrival, following next morning we had to be awake at six in the morning to be at rossport camp by half six, the camp van came to collect us, we were not given too much details of the day ahead untill we arrived at the camp, when arriving it was still dark early morning we met the other twenty group from Galway and twenty from Cork and then also the rossport campers making numbers to over seventy people for the day of action, the camp is beautiful a farmer gave the land to be of use to the campaign shell to sea, using it for a base of actions an eco self-sufficient living area with wind turbines to generate little electricity., we were given breakfast and then told to walk from camp to the corrib gas project site only five minutes walk to be there before seven o’clock before the trucks started to arrive, all together seventy of us shell to sea protestors arrived outside the entrace of corrib gas, and over fourty I-RMS Security guards was on duty, we succesfully blockaded the entrance from convoy of shells lorry’s since early morning from 7am. Irish times stated that ” Work was disrupted at the Corrib Gas project in North co.Mayo on 17th up to seventy protestors staged a blockade” writes Lorna Siggins, later on we took a walk around the corrib gas site which you can see the drilling effects in the ground around outside the long tall gates with large patches of dirty water coming from the cracks looking quite dangerous not knowing what exact cause or effect it was but certainly to myself was a horrific site. Later on a local man around sixty yrs old started to dig at the cobbles on the ground underneath the fence at the left side of entrance to the corrib gas site, the over eight cameras that was security’s was going ninty as he was able to unscrew the bolts off the wall then suddenly a bang as the wall was successfully taken down “Hurry get in” said the local man, over ten people ran in trough the collapsed wall to the site protestors lit some fire crackers and threw in the air while running through”trespassing” the corrib gas site.The rest of us protestors who watched them in the site all made a round of applause with delight and then the I-RMS security guards stood behind the wall blocking anyone else from entering while also documenting everything of us on camera, lit-really from 2-5 minutes over 40 I-RMS security guards and 50 Gardai siochana arrives with seven riot vans, 8 Gardai cars, and 2 unmarked detective cars, one of the I-RMS security guards went to find the “missing wall” which was after taken off thrown in the ditch found by the security guard, as one local man tried to block the security guard with the “missing wall” back into the corrib gas site to fix the wall, around twenty of the gardai’s  pushed and shoved this sixty year old man down the road. An hour later I-RMS security guards came running out from the corrib gas site and ripped off shell to sea banners on the entrance fence off, as us protestors witnessed and attacked upon tried to block entrance again, the gardai was assaulting us to try and remove us from the area to let a truck arrive in the corrib gas site, in all the day was succesfull solidarity with the comminity for the horrific treatment they have to live with just for standing up against corrib gas & shell even the gardai siochana. After our long day we visited the local supporting pub Maguries which was a chance to meet more locals intresting stories, off to sleep for another early morning for Saturday the 18th, this time we had to be awake at half 5 in the morning, to arrive at the camp for 6 am, arriving at the corrib gas project early succefully blocading once again from the convoy of lorrys entering the project site, then four locals came to myself and four other protestors asked us did we want to be involved in a direct action so ofcourse we took the chance to be apart of helping them, we got in the back of the local farmers van and was told we need to pick up something on the way, we sat waiting in the van the farmer came back to us with a sledge hammer then told if the gardai drive past us duck down in the back, so we were off on the road stopped by every distance sign for the corrib gas project where the onshore pipeline works are continuing, one of the farmers got out the back of the van and “bash” the sign off the pole, as we removed over 20 road signs. we had to duck in the back of the van numerous times as the Gardai drove past not taken one bit of notice as we had successfully taken down the road sign in short timing. The feeling of helping the locals reclaim their roads which is taken over by heavy traffic of working equipment& the haulage associated with corrib gas project was excitement and proud to be standing with the locals making such a statment standing up for justice. Listening to the locals stories is very emotional the two couple who hosted us in their home told us how shell attempts the split the community in north Mayo, trying to bribe in order to get support giving money in order to lay down the pipe, funding secondary schools new GA pitch, dance halls, even going as low as giving the elderly new toasters and kettles, the wife explained to me how the Gardai treat them on an phyisical assault and mentally, one that got her was hard for her to tell anyone its been their life standing up against the guards and shell for over 10 years “at night It haunted me seeing even the gardai coming out of my wardrobe  trying to attack ” the wife said. The pipe, Shell, the Gardai effects the locals everyday life. For me personally seeing with my own eyes reminds me of what i seen in Gaza, Palestine from the stealing of their lands to the stealing of their oil and gas at sea effecting fisherman from going out past 3 miles by being under siege by “Israel” which is an illegal and apartheid state.


A Secret Behind Israel’s Siege of Gaza: Palestinians Have Oil and Natural Gas Resources 


“Palestine was rewarded with an oil reserve 22 miles off of the coast of the Gaza Strip.  The entire country was excited by this natural mineral that would hopefully provide them with the economic freedom and financial stability they desired. Unfortunately, the financial success did not come directly on the heels of their discovery” The Israeli government, with Washington’s backing, considers it is entitled to all the energy reserves. Israeli national infrastructure minister Uzi Landau declared that the large natural gas fields would not only bring economic benefits to Israeli citizens but could also transform Israel into a gas supplier in the Mediterranean region. According to U.S. Geological Survey, a U.S. Government agency which has been prospecting in the region for several years, the natural gas deposits in the basin amount to approximately 3 500 billion cubic meters, while the oil reserves have been assessed at 1,7 billion barrels, our own Irish government is letting this happen in our own country doing this to our own people, explained below 


The Gas & Oil Robbery


The €420,000,000,000+ Ireland is giving away

“Vast quantities of gas and oil have been discovered under Irish waters in the Atlantic Ocean over the past 15 years. The Government’s figures put the value of these reserves at €420 billion (€420,000,000,000), but this is a very conservative estimate. The real figure is likely to be much higher, especially as the global price of oil and gas rises (see explanation below*).

So what will the Government be spending these new-found riches on? The answer is: Nothing. This wealth will be leaving Ireland, thanks to a deal made between the corrupt Haughey government and multinational oil companies. Minister Ray Burke (later jailed for corruption) changed the law in 1987, reducing the State’s share in our offshore oil and gas from 50% to zero and abolishing royalties. In 1992, Minister Bertie Ahern reduced the tax rate for the profits made from the sale of these resources from 50% to 25%.

According to respected economist Colm Rapple, the amount of tax paid will be very low and will not be paid until many years into the operation of a gas or oil field, because the deal allows the companies to write off 100% of costs (even the anticipated cost of shutting down the operation!) before they declare the profits to be taxed (see In major oil/gas producing countries, the state takes an average (median) of 68% of the value of gas and oil. 

While people in Ireland are suffering in a recession, being told to tighten their belts, to grin and bear the painful cuts to health, education and their dole, the pension levy, the giant oil companies of the world are preparing to remove Ireland’s valuable natural resources and divvy up the billions of euro of profits between their shareholders.” -


Quotes from the Local community and one from the Rossport Five


“im not bound to shell i have my rights and i will stick with my rights”

“we have asked to meet shell where there plans can meet with us in a public meeting but they refuse”

“shell is talking to the fisherman and the community that’s what they tell the media, but all shell will do is what they want to do”

“there so arrogant see they are not going to listen, were not stopping anything we have to go full steam ahead of trying to stop them”

“someone who keeps telling lies your going to find them out any-ways,”

“they have only two choices left at this stage JAIL US OR KILL US if your going to go down that road again like they have already done we will have to take the consequence we will be there , i’ll be there, were not going away the struggle goes on” 

  • 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.  


Posted Date: 
22 February 2012