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Shell to Sea protest will continue until people are heard

Dublin Shell to Sea is organising a series of events in the capital to mark a year since hundreds of gardaí were drafted in to break up a 15-month-long peaceful blockade by local people at Shell's proposed refinery site at Bellanaboy.
These events follow an all-night, candle-lit vigil which took place at the gates of the site on Wednesday night, Thursday morning. Local people gathered to mark 12 months of “an illegally conducted occupation of our community, carried out by our own State forces on behalf of Shell and their so-called Corrib gas partners,” according to Rossport resident John Monaghan.
Last week the Environmental Protection Agency deferred until November 28 its decision on whether to grant an integrated pollution prevention control licence for the proposed gas refinery.
Caoimhe Kerins of Dublin Shell to Sea said: “The fact that the EPA has yet to rule on whether to allow Shell to operate this refinery gives the lie to any notion that this issue is over. We're calling on people to help stop this inland refinery before it's too late.
“It's not too late to make them process the gas at sea, as is done at Kinsale,” she continued. “Despite a year of garda intimidation and violence, community opposition to the inland refinery is as strong as ever. The government has had to use hundreds of gardaí to force through the work that has been done to date, against the wishes of local people. But the actual building of the refinery has yet to begin.”
Mr Monaghan, spokesperson for Shell to Sea, has called the presence of gardaí in Kilcommon “a cynical move to criminalise the community.”
“Gardai were drafted into the parish of Kilcommon to enforce Shell's desire to resume operations on this disputed project, after a peaceful blockade had halted works here for 15 months without incident.
“Gardaí were ordered to push the protestors away from Shell's gates and onto the public road. Once on the road, we were pushed and kicked, thrown over bridges and into ditches.
“Vicious verbal and physical attacks, including the use of batons, were intended to frighten people away, and put an end to legitimate demonstration, in what is still a private dispute between the developers and the community over a project that is fundamentally experimental. We simply refuse to be the guinea pigs.
“Because of these facts the Corrib gas project, as proposed, does not and will never have community consent. We do not oppose development, but neither can we support development at any cost.”
He has called on politicians to do their job. “We are here exercising and protecting our basic human rights, because those charged with this task have failed to represent us.”
Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern TD last week condemned the use of batons to break up peaceful demonstrations in Burma and the fact that hundreds have been arrested. He also spoke out against the use of physical force against unarmed civilians who are exercising the basic right of freedom of expression in a peaceful manner and Mr Monaghan is still asking that the same principles apply in Ireland. “Until our voice is heard and understood our protest will continue,” he stated.
Dublin Shell to Sea's upcoming activities included a picket at the Shell petrol station on South Circular Road in Kilmainhan yesterday Thursday October 4. Tomorrow, Saturday October 6 at 12.30pm a protest will be held in front of the GPO on O’Connell Street and on Thursday October 11 at 6.30pm several busloads of campaigners will leave Dublin for a sitdown blockade at dawn on Friday October 12 at the proposed refinery site in Bellanaboy.

Posted Date: 
5 October 2007 - 2:29pm