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Building for the Rossport 5 rally

A national rally to demand the release of the Rossport Five and the relocation of a potentially dangerous gas refinery was officially launched in Dublin yesterday.
Relatives of the Co Mayo men jailed for objecting to the gas pipeline’s construction on their land gathered with supporters at Shell’s Dublin headquarters yesterday to launch the rally.
The five men — Micheál Ó Seighin, Willie Corduff, Brendan Philbin, and brothers Vincent and Philip McGrath — have been behind bars since June 29 for breaching a High Court injunction taken out by Shell and by Statoil and Marathon, Shell Oil’s partner companies in Shell Exploration and Production Ireland.
Organisers say the rally is intended to highlight the men’s continuing plight and the call for a controversial gas refinery planned for a rural district of Co Mayo to be relocated to the Atlantic Ocean, where there would be little risk to members of the public.
The Rossport Five were jailed after objecting to the gas pipeline connecting the Corrib gas field and the planned refinery being constructed on their land.
The Irish government did a deal with Shell E&P Ireland and has so far refused to help secure the release of the five men from jail.Máire Ní Sheighin, daughter of Micheál Ó Seighin, appealed for people across Ireland to attend the rally.
“It is now over 78 days since the men went to prison. This does not constitute justice or democracy.
“The consortium, including Shell and Statoil, which is exploiting the Corrib gas field, should immediately apply to lift the injunction which has led to the imprisonment of the five men.
“We are calling on everybody who believes in justice and democracy — and particularly the trade unions, community groups and political parties — to mobilise their members for October 1 and to place the responsibility for this entire mess at the hands of the government.
“It is they who granted the consents to this consortium. It is time for them to start acting in the interests of ordinary people and not those of the big multinationals.”
Mary Corduff, the wife of Willie Corduff, said she welcomed support from any quarter.
“Democracy has failed us and failed each and every person in Ireland and what’s happening to us can happen to any person in Ireland and, as such, this rally is very important.
“It’s a terrible shame but we have to do this. We’re doing what the government should be doing, protecting their area, and they haven’t done that. They’ve failed us.”
The October 1 rally will begin at 2.30pm at the Garden of Remembrance in Parnell Square, Dublin.
Later this month, minister for the marine Noel Dempsey is to appear before the chairman of the joint Oireachtas committee on communications, marine and natural resources to give a detailed account of the process involved in the Corrib gas project.

Posted Date: 
21 August 2006 - 1:08am