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FF Cavan ‘think-in’ draws Rossport 5 protest

FF ‘think-in’ draws Rossport 5 protest Connla Young, Daily Ireland Supporters of the Rossport Five held a protest yesterday at a Fianna Fáil strategy meeting in Co Cavan. Up to two dozen protesters gathered at the gates of the Slieve Russell hotel in Ballyconnell to demand the release of the five Co Mayo men.Willie Corduff, brothers Philip and Vincent McGrath, Micheál Ó Seighin and Brendan Philbin have now served more than 70 days behind bars without being convicted of any offence.The demonstration was held just hours before a delegation of independent TDs held a meeting in Dublin with Truls Hanevold, the Norwegian ambassador to Ireland.Norway is the major shareholder in Statoil, which is part of a consortium along with Shell and Marathon. The consortium is involved in the multimillion-euro Corrib gas project.Independent Mayo TD Jerry Cowley said the Co Cavan protest had kept the pressure on the Irish government to help resolve the Rossport Five situation.The government has resisted massive pressure to act since the men were jailed in June. The men were found guilty of breaching a High Court order prohibiting them from interfering with the construction of a potentially dangerous high-pressure gas pipeline on their land. The men have been told they will stay behind bars until they purge their contempt.Dr Cowley said: “This protest made a good impression. We went there to make a point and we did. This is a government think-tank and I suggest they think long and hard about what they are going to do to help the Rossport Five.“The government should realise this is not going away, and the longer it goes on, the more entrenched people get.”Dr Cowley also attended the meeting at the Norwegian embassy.“We gave them a document highlighting the relevant issues but it is fair to say they are aware of the situation and they are reporting back to Norway.
“They also appreciate that, as time goes on, they are coming under more pressure to help find a solution. “It was a frank exchange of views and it was useful and the Norwegians do realise how serious the situation is.“In all this, Shell have been very vindictive and spiteful and their behaviour is tarnishing the name of Norway.“If this situation had unfolded in Nigeria, we would be mourning the Rossport Five by now,” said Dr Cowley.The Mayo TD said he would visit Norway next week to highlight the plight of the Rossport Five.

Posted Date: 
7 September 2005 - 9:36pm