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Sligo - North West unites for the Rossport 5

Over 400 people marched through the Streets of Sligo last Saturday in support for the Rossport Five who have been in prison for over 70 days.(attendance was 1000 according to regional radio! - hard to know..)Following weeks of petitioning where almost a thousand signatures were gathered in Sligo, the people of the North West came out in force to show their commitment to the ‘Shell to Sea’ campaign, which is demanding that the controversial Shell/Statoil gas pipeline and refinery be located offshore in Co. Mayo.Sligo’s Saturday shopping and traffic bustle was brought to a halt when hundreds of marchers, led by Dr. Jerry Cowley TD and the wives of the Rossport Five, appeared from behind Harmony hill and came marching down onto O’Connell Street. The marchers were greeted with cheers, applause and donations as they proudly displayed banners and flags and created a stirring atmosphere with the sound of African and Irish drums filling the air.The march ended with a rally at City Hall where Jerry Cowley TD introduced speeches by the wives of the Rossport Five, Werner Blau from Trinity College, Maura Harrington from Shell to Sea, Malcolm Thompson of the ICSA, Cllr. Florence Doherty, Cllr. Declan Bree and Cllr. Chris MacManus.The wives spoke of their hardship and sadness at the ongoing jailing of their husbands whilst others highlighted the injustice of blaming Irish citizens for protecting their community from a highly dangerous pipeline. Declan Bree spoke about the ‘scandalous economics’, which will mean that the people of Norway will benefit more more from Irish natural gas than the people of Ireland will. Maura Harrington said Fianna Fail and Fine Gael will be punished by the people for supporting crimes against citizens, the environment and the economy. Later on that night, the Sligo United Trade’s club was bustling to the sounds of the Rossport Five ballad and to two great bands from Kerry, ‘Bio Utd.’ and ‘Firm Stools’, and by DJ Brian from Galway, all of whom volunteered their talents for free. A total of €1381 was raised through donations at the march, a benefit gig and a raffle. All of this will be lodged to the campaign account in Mayo and will be used for legal and travel expenses for the Shell to Sea campaign. The wives and supporters of the five men, who will remain in prison until Shell withdraw their injunction, said they were delighted with the welcome and support they received in Sligo and would like to extend their heartfelt thanks to all who helped and donated money or raffle prizes in any way. All details of donations received etc. will be posted on North West Shell to Sea campaign will continue their lobbying, campaigning and actions and are preparing to send a delegation to the October 1st national demonstration at Dáil Eireann.

Posted Date: 
15 September 2005 - 7:40pm