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Support for Five continues to grow

Support for Five continues to grow

report by Padraic Burns, The Mayo News
AS the Rossport Five enter their third week in jail at Cloverhill Prison, there is no sign of the campaign in Mayo calling for their release from prison losing any of its momentum. Last Saturday, over 1,000 people attended a rally in Belmullet, while on Sunday, 3,000 people signed a petition calling for their release at the Connacht football final between Mayo and Galway in Salthill. A prayer service was also held in Bellanboy on Monday evening while the protest at the terminal there is also continuing.
Dr Jerry Cowley, TD, said the support for the five men was growing at a ‘phenomenal rate’, and he has issued a plea to ‘every man, woman and child in Mayo’ to attend a rally in Ballina on Saturday next, July 16 at 2pm.
"There are men in jail because they asserted their rights to live in their own homes without a potentially lethal pipeline being installed beside their houses. No one would tolerate this situation," said Dr Cowley.
The leader of Fine Gael, Enda Kenny, has called on the Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, to intervene personally on behalf of the Government in the dispute. Deputy Kenny, who met with the five men for two hours in prison, said that the Government had failed in their duty to deal effectively with this issue.
"I am convinced that there a number of options open to the Government that could resolve the outstanding problems. I believe the Taoiseach should now intervene to allow a period of calm to be restored to the situation, during which action can be taken on a number of fronts. I expressed my concerns to the men in prison about the situation and while I fully understand that the matter of contempt of court is one for their own resolution, I believe that my proposals would be helpful to them," he said.
A Fianna Fáil delegation, led by Councillor Frank Chambers, will meet with the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, Mr Noel Dempsey, this week in an attempt to iron out some of the contentious issues that have arisen since the jailing of the five men. It is also expected that the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Eamon Ó Cuív, will be in attendance.
Cllr Chambers said the Minister needed to take a greater interest in the matter. "We will discuss every option with Minister Dempsey and we will do our best to get the five men freed immediately. This is a very serious matter and we’ll be attempting to resolve the difficulties between Shell, local residents and the land owners.
"We are very aware of the health and safety concerns of the people of Rossport and every effort will be made to address them. The lines of communication must remain open and it is only through dialogue that progress will be made in resolving this issue," he said. The Fianna Fáil delegation will also include several representatives and locals from the Rossport area.
Meanwhile, Shell E&P Ireland (SEPIL) has called for reasoned and constructive dialogue in an attempt to resolve the issue. In a statement the company said that it had no wish to inflame the situation and it appealed for calm among those who wished to protest. The company welcomed the publication of the most recent independent review of SEPIL’s Qualified Risk Assessment which endorsed the overall findings that the prediction of any risk to the public resulting from the operation of the onshore section of the Corrib pipeline would be acceptable to international standards. The review was commissioned by the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources.
SEPIL have also highlighted the strategic importance of the project to the Irish economy, pointing out that it was one of the largest ever private inward investments in the State at almost €1billion, and that to date over €500m has been invested.
A special bank account called the ‘Rossport Five Fund’ has been set up for those wishing to make a contribution in support of the five men. The details are as follows: Sort Code 985314; Account No 23987020; Bank ID ULSBIE2D; International Bank Account Number (IBAN):- IE74 ULSB 9853 1423 9870 20

Posted Date: 
21 August 2006 - 1:08am