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What vindication feels like…


The week gone by has seen some serious changes to the landscape of the campaign up here. We’ll put up some impressions on what it means soon, but for the moment suffice it to say that we’ve had a serious victory against Shell with An Bord Pleanala coming back saying that the “design documentation” and “risk assessment” are both so seriously defective that they fail to “present a complete, transparent and adequate demonstration that the pipeline does not pose an unacceptable risk to the public”;

This means that the people who’ve opposed this for so long have been right, that no matter what vested interests try to put us down, we’ve been on the money. And all that will delay Shell a good few months at least, and gives a tangible victory to the campaign, which is really something to that doesn’t come along very often, but which gives a massive boost and huge hope when it does. It should have gone a lot further , but we’re moving in the right direction anyway, and that is really something to be happy about.

We have weekly meetings in Inver Community Hall on a Sunday evening every week, and last night was no different. Except that it was. The laughs were longer, the crowd was bigger, everybody was looking forward to what we can do next, talking about how we can keep pushing it – the atmosphere was just really great. The relief was all around to be seen, the sense of vindication, the sense that something to which we give so much in the way of effort, time and emotional energy has given something tangible back. Most of the people in Inver had this completely foisted upon them, and they’ve been fighting it for 10 years or more, and this really means something.

There’s no fear that people won’t keep their feet on the ground, or that they’ll lessen off in their efforts (there was plenty of anger that An Bord Pleanala didn’t just turn the whole thing down, even with their hands tied by the Strategic Infrastructure Act), but along with the resilience that has kept people going so long comes a realistic view of the situation.

Now we’ve got something to build on, so let’s go do it.