"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.”
10 people from the Rossport solidarity camp delayed Shell’s survey work for the dangerous and experimental Corrib gas pipeline yesterday. The campaigners waded out to one of the rigs drilling boreholes in the Sruwaddacon estuarythe rig at high tide, fixed rope around the legs of the rig, and occupied the space underneath it to prevent the being moved to a new site. Work was delayed for around two hours.
Shell’s security guards IRMS cut the ropes around the rig, but did not try to remove the protesters so the occupation of the area under the rig continued until the Gardai arrived. Six of the waders were arrested and taken to Belmullet police station. Three others returned to the water in kayaks to make a further attempt to stop the rig but were blocked by security in speedboats – one kayaker was also arrested. All those arrested were later released without charge.
Shell is currently drilling survey boreholes to gather information to support its plan to put the gas pipeline through a tunnel running up the estuary. Campaigners from the local community and the solidarity camp have been obstructing the testing in a series of protests and actions on water and on land.
‘Beat the Boreholes’ campaign is up and running, inviting groups to the camp to take on an action against one of the estimated 80 boreholes. To get involved in the campaign, call or email the camp. The ‘Beat the Boreholes’ guide will be published soon.
Yesterday’s action coincided with Rossport Solidarity Camp member Niall Harnett’s 100th day in prison. Niall was sentenced to five months in prison on a trumped-up charge of assaulting a police officer, after making himself a thorn in Shell’s side with his work on the campaign over several years.