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Two charged with public order offences over Corrib protest

By: 
Lorna Siggins - Irish Times

TWO PROTESTERS at the Corrib gas project in north Mayo were arrested and charged with public order offences yesterday at Belmullet Garda station.

The two from the Rossport Solidarity Camp began their action just after 6am yesterday, when their arms were locked to two concrete barrels on the north coast road near the Aughoose work site for the last section of the Corrib gas pipeline.

The camp said the action was being taken to highlight Shell’s response to the recent North Sea oil spill, reported to be the largest in the area in a decade, at the Gannet Alpha platform.

“These serious and surprisingly common incidents could easily happen in Mayo, with a devastating effect on people’s health and the local ecosystem,” the camp said in a statement yesterday.

Shell EP Ireland did not respond to requests from The Irish Times for comment on the statement.

A protest removal team from Belmullet Garda station was called to the incident, which resulted in work being delayed at the site until 1pm. The Garda team, which is trained to remove people in these situations, took the two participants to Belmullet Garda station, where they were charged and released on bail, according to a Garda spokesman.

The action is the latest in a series initiated by the camp and Shell to Sea supporters since Corrib gas developers began work on July 22nd to prepare a tunnelling route for the pipeline through Sruwaddacon estuary.

A High Court judicial review of permissions for the work has been granted to An Taisce and several residents, and is due to be heard in several months.

The camp has claimed private security staff employed by Shell to facilitate equipment movements to and from the Aughoose site are blocking public roads without permission.

A Garda spokesman said there were no official road closures, but traffic was halted periodically to facilitate load and equipment movements.

Protesters attempting to jump on equipment represent a health and safety issue, the Garda said.

The developer had indicated a 26-month work plan at the An Bord Pleanála oral hearing, a camp spokesman said yesterday.

 

Posted Date: 
23 August 2011