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Local people confront Shell executives

An unscheduled meeting for Shell executives with concerned locals over the proposed controversial Corrib Gas project.
Last evening (25/01/06) saw an important step in the Corrib Gas dispute. The day was set aside for an executive team from the oil company Shell to meet with various groups involved in the controversial project. All meetings were behind closed doors and by invitation only, as a group of concerned locals found out when attempting to meet with the team in Belmullet.It became known that a further meeting was to take place in the community centre in Greannaí, a short distance from Rossport, to discuss with locals the problems to date. An impromptu group of people, residents directly affected by the proposed refinery and associated pipeline, converged on the venue to take part in the event.On arrival they were informed this was yet another private meeting, and were refused entry. This reflected an earlier statement from Shell that the team were seeking to meet with non-opposing landowners only. Clearly an unacceptable situation, the people asserted their right to be involved in any debate on something which affected their community so seriously, and in what was supposed to be their own community centre! The Gardaí present (as part of the security laid on for Shell) wisely used their discretion and allowed access to the gathering group. Gardaí attend the meeting venueInside, a surprised looking collection huddled together to talk over the new arrangement. The team included Andy Pyle, MD Shell Exploration & Production Ireland Ltd (SEPIL); Nina Henderson, Non-executive Director of Shell Transport; and Wim Kok, former Dutch Finance Minister, Prime Minister, and Royal Dutch Supervisory Board member.What followed was an informal, virtually one-sided debate on the conduct of Shell in the area. The people were highly insulted by the further attempt to exclude them from proper discussion, a fact that had continued to contribute to the growing rift between the developers and the community ever since the project was announced.Andy Pyle attempted to justify the admitted mix-up over invitations by blaming the Rossport Five for not wishing to meet the team, and this was taken that everyone in Erris opposed to the current project were not interested. The fact that protests by hundreds of people at the Bellanaboy refinery site had taken place, and that thousands of people nationally and internationally had voiced their displeasure at the actions of the oils giants, seemed to be totally ignored by SEPIL, who had been charged with organising the meetings.Some hard truths were presented to the executives who were informed that, given their past and current actions (here in Ireland and further afield in places such as Nigeria), under no circumstances would an experimental and potentially lethal refinery and pipeline be tolerated in the area. The not-so-polite message was, ''wake up and pull out ... the people of Erris are not for sale!''The evening passed off without incident (due in large part to the Gardaí handling things in a sensitive manner; unusual of late but very welcome) and the Shell crew left among cheers, jeers and even a few fireworks. The people on the ground, the people who have been living with this ongoing nightmare and the ones that really count, had finally got a chance to let the hitherto faceless corporations know what they really desired; a peaceful existence in a beautiful and unspiolt part of the world.Surely not too much to ask.
Andy Pyle and co show the pressure of being exposed to the truth
Hard facts are put to the team
More pics by JM Thursday, Jan 26 2006, 12:35pm address: Rossport
More pics from Greannaí
Wim Kok hears some unwelcome news
Bríd Ní Sheighin confronts Andy Pyle over comments about the Rossport Five
Wim Kok and Maura Harrington exchage views as the team leave

Solidarity by anarchist against shell - Anarchist Youth Thursday, Jan 26 2006, 12:45pm
The people of Mayo in struggle against Shell have the popular support of the Irish people. It is only through underhandedness and hiring thugs from McDowell that Shell have even a slight chance of getting that pipe laid down.We have seen what Shell are capable of in Nigeria and cannot let that happen again.¡No Pasarán!
Great pics. by Tim Hourigan Thursday, Jan 26 2006, 1:07pm
Would like to hear mroe about the exhcanges. I'm sure Maura Harrington gave Shell & Co plenty to think about, and Brid looks like she was about to deliver a similar burst of "wake up and smell the roses" to the dodgy diggers. Fair play to all involved. A good example to others of not lying down to wait to be rolled over!Ros Dumhach Abu!
Is fiú labhairt. by Duine Thursday, Jan 26 2006, 1:56pm
Is maith go bhfuil daoine ag labhairt le daoine .i. go bhfuil an pobal a bheas thíos ag ligint a meon leis na daoine a dhéanann na socraithe i leith na mbearta.Beirigí bua.
Protest at Leinster House at lunchtime today by Tadhg Thursday, Jan 26 2006, 2:21pm Great report and photos- those are the best pictures of Andy Pyle anywhere on the web!About 30-40 protesters gathered at Kildare Street to meet the arrival of Wim Kok and the boys for their meeting with Mayo TD's. Presumably in the light of last night's exchanges, the delegation from Shell decided to sneak in the back door. Hopefully there should be a bit on the TV news tonight- Sky and RTÉ were there as well as newspaper photographers. More Dublin protests to come- if you want to be kept informed, send an email to and ask to be put on the mailing list- include a mobile number if you want to receive texts.
Fair play to ye. by Seán Ryan Thursday, Jan 26 2006, 2:48pm Good to see the pressure being kept up.Even better to see the Gardaí earn some good press. I hope this becomes the norm.Shell's little march of dictatorship seems to be blowing up in their faces, literally in some quarters.Solidarity with the victims and protestors, and Shell out.Sláinte,Seán

$Hell Oil @ Galway international Car Rally by speedy - s2h Thursday, Jan 26 2006, 5:12pm
$Hell Oil will have a major refuelling station at the Galway international Car Rally next weekend. The $Hell Rigs will be set up @Portumna Mart on Saturday 4th, Ballinasloe Mart on Sunday 5th.
Shell to Hell by Niall Thursday, Jan 26 2006, 6:03pm
Nice work JM. Be reminded, ye Government readers of Independent Media Ireland, that this project is not gonna happen. Simple as that.
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More photos Erris Shell to Sea confronting Shell directors by EC - Shell to Sea Thursday, Jan 26 2006, 7:35pm
-Some more photos from the Shell directors visit to Erris Co. Mayo, (Thursday 25 Jan).-
Shell to sea campaigners are denied access to Shell meeting in the Broadhaven Bay hotel
Erris Shell to Sea attempt to gain access to private Shell-PEGG (pro erris gas group) meeting, the door is manned by the cops and a PEGG member
PEGG member attempt to prevent Shell to Sea campaigners and Rossport residents from attending the meeting
worried shell directors huddle inside the meeting hall
Andy Pyle with non-executive directors Vim Kok (third from left) and Nina Henderson (second from right) line up inside the meeting
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- by EC Thursday, Jan 26 2006, 7:41pm
some comments from the floor...

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- by EC Thursday, Jan 26 2006, 7:45pm
Andy Pyle under pressure
the directors make a hasty exit

Posted Date: 
27 January 2006 - 12:32am