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Goldman winner Corduff to get hero's welcome at Knock

GOLDMAN PRIZE WINNER WILLIE CORDUFF TO GET HERO’S WELCOME AT KNOCK-- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Washington politicians, lobby groups pledge support to Rossport campaigner ---- Corduff to appear on BBC World Television's HardTalk, with 60 million viewers worldwide --May 1st, 2007: Campaigners against Shell's inland refinery at Bellanaboy in Co Mayo are planning a welcome party at Knock Airport on Wednesday morning (May 2nd) to greet Willie Corduff, winner of the prestigious $125,000 Goldman Environmental Prize, and his wife Mary.Corduff, who spent 94 days in prison in 2005 over his opposition to Shell's inland refinery and high-pressure pipeline, spent the past week in Washington DC, meeting members of the US Senate and Congress, including Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi. He also had meetings with representatives from Amnesty International, the National Geographic Society, the World Wildlife Fund and other powerful lobby groups.Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, said it was "with wonder and awe at the tremendous accomplishments and incredible bravery that I salute the Goldman Prize winners. Their conviction and courage are an inspiration. In the face of overwhelming odds, sometimes even putting their own lives at risk, they stand up for their communities, for justice, and for the environment.”The Corduffs are due to arrive at Knock Airport at 11.05 a.m. on Wednesday, May 2nd. Family, friends and supporters plan a motorcade trip from Knock Airport to the Corduffs' farm in Rossport, stopping off at the Mayo Co Council offices in Castlebar. They will also be stopping at Ballina and at the trailer at the gates of the Bellanaboy refinery site, which has been the Shell to Sea's campaign headquarters since 2005.Corduff said: "The politicians and people from various environmental groups that we met in Washington said they couldn't believe that the Irish government and Mayo County Council would sit back and let Shell to what they are doing. The message from all the groups we met with was, don't give up, because you'll be ruined if you do.""We met some wonderful people, it really gives you courage," he said. "Representatives of many different environmental and other groups said they would help in whatever way they could. Many said they would visit Ireland to see Shell's operations for themselves."In Ireland, Labour Party president Michael D Higgins TD led tributes to Corduff: “This prestigious award recognises his work ... in protecting the local environment in north Mayo and is very well deserved. However, it once again highlights the controversy over the Corrib gas pipeline which has been ongoing for nearly eight years now with still no firm prospect of a final resolution that is acceptable to all.”Mayo Independent TD Jerry Cowley said that the Corduff family “have been to hell and back in the last few years”. He said the Goldman Prize was “an international recognition of the legitimacy of the campaign to reconfigure the Corrib gas project”.The Corduffs are currently in London, where on Tuesday they will record an interview with BBC World Television's flagship current affairs programme, 'HardTalk', which has 60 million viewers around the world.Since the 2007 Goldman Prize announcement, Willie Corduff and the campaign against Shell's inland refinery and high-pressure pipeline in Mayo have been the subject of features in the Wall Street Journal, the San Francisco Chronicle and numerous other media around the world.Awarded annually to six grassroots environmental heroes, the $125,000 no-strings-attached prize is the largest of its kind in the world and is often referred to as the Nobel Prize for the environment. Willie Corduff is the first Irish winner in the 18-year history of the Goldman Prize. He and the other five winners received their prizes at a ceremony on Monday, April 23 at the San Francisco Opera House.- ENDS –ABOUT THE GOLDMAN ENVIRONMENTAL PRIZEThe Goldman Environmental Prize was established in 1990 by San Francisco civic leader and philanthropist Richard N. Goldman and his late wife, Rhoda H. Goldman. It has been awarded to 119 people from 70 countries. Prize winners are selected by an international jury from confidential nominations submitted by a worldwide network of environmental organizations and individuals.Endorsed by more than 100 Heads of State, including Ireland, and often referred to as the Nobel Prize for the environment, the Prize rewards grassroots leaders for their outstanding work in protecting the environment and campaigning to preserve vulnerable natural habitats. Previous Prize winners have been at the center of some of the world’s most pressing environmental challenges, including seeking justice for victims of environmental disasters at Love Canal and Bhopal, India; leading the fight for dolphin-safe tuna; fighting oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; and exposing Monsanto’s role in introducing the rBGH hormone into the US dairy industry.Since receiving a Goldman Prize, eight winners have been appointed or elected to national office in their countries, including several who became ministers of the environment. The 1991 Goldman Prize winner for Africa, Wangari Maathai, won the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize. The 1995 winner for Africa, Ken Saro-Wiwa, was executed over his opposition to Shell's activities in Ogoniland in the Niger delta.NOTES TO EDITORS:• Willie Corduff is currently in London and is available for interview on request.• Additional information about the Prize and previous winners is at www.goldmanprize.orgCONTACT:For further information, photographs or to arrange an interview, please contact:William Hederman, Dublinwilliamhederman@hotmail.comMobile: +353 87 2861238San Francisco:Natalie Silverstein, Goldman Environmental Prize+1 415 345

Posted Date: 
30 April 2007 - 8:15pm