..." Those who have stood up for their rights in Mayo have been bullied, arrested, jailed and demonised by sections of the media and by Government. MAOR will continue to support the people of Mayo and will continue to campaign for a better deal for the people of the North West. Every community which is subject to gas exploration off its coastline must stand in solidarity with the people of Rossport and Glengad..."

Rossport Solidarity Camp

Rossport Solidarity Camp

At the invite of the local community, the Rossport Solidarity Camp was set up in June 2005 on the route of the proposed Shell pipeline. We have since been evicted from the camp and now have a house but the spirit of the camp remains and we continue to support the local community and the Shell to Sea campaign’s struggle for justice against the Irish Government and Shell. The solidarity house provides a base for people who wish to visit the area and learn more about the community campaign.

Callout for Spring 09

Rossport Solidarity Camp
After a massive effort which helped stop Shell laying the off-shore section of the pipeline in Summer 08, we expect Shell to try lay the off-shore section again this Spring. This will be their fourth attempt at laying the off-shore pipeline, and we hope to make this as unsucessful as the previous attempts. However we will need your help so please get involved and in particular think of visiting the area around April or May 09 to join the resistance. See a summary of some of last years activities here: Review of 2008

The fight goes on. Be part of it.


Shell to Sea call for a halt to Shell operations

On Tuesday January 20th, Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin stated that it is "extraordinary" that gas from the Corrib field has not yet been brought onshore. Shell to Sea feels that what is really "extraordinary" is that the Government is still trying to force this experimental project through given the local community concerns regarding their health, safety and local environment.

Shell to Sea feel that the only way that this situation can be moved forward positively, is for Shell to halt their current operations in the area so that the Corrib debacle can be settled for once and for all. It is high time that the Government started taking the concerns of communities seriously and stops acting just in the interest of big business and banks.

In referring to the recent gas dispute between Russia and the Ukraine, Minister Martin failed to raise the most crucial point that this episode highlighted, which is that Russia has control of its' gas supply, Ireland on the other hand doesn't and won't under the current terms.

Responding to Minister Martins' comments, Shell to Sea spokesperson Maura Harrington stated "Micheál Martin spoke of our need for energy security, but seeing as we will have to buy our own gas back from Shell, the real question is, in these dark economic times where is the 'security of finance' going to come from so that we can get 'security of supply'?".

Recent Garda expenses figures show that for the month of October 08 alone, Gardaí claimed over €1 million for policing the protests against the proposed Corrib project. While a spokesperson for the Dept. of Justice stated that the Garda operation was needed as the protest weren't peaceful, given that no charges have been pressed against any of the protestors, this is totally disingenuous.

Local fisherman Pat O'Donnell stated "Last Autumn in a two month period, during Shells' failed attempt to lay the offshore pipeline over 40 arrests were made, however no charges have resulted from any of these arrests. I, along with other fishermen, was arrested on the water while we were trying to protect our property and livelihoods. The Government has always gone on about Shells' right to go to work yet I was wrongfully arrested at my place of work."

Mr. O'Donnell continued "How can the fact that no protestors have been charged, be tallied with the Department of Justices' statement that the protests aren't peaceful. The local community will continue to protest while their safety and local environment is put at risk by Shell and their friends in Government".

For verification contact:
Maura Harrington - 087 9591474
Terence Conway - 086 0866264


More Info:

Article on the Corrib Policing Costs: http://www.breakingnews.ie/ireland/mhsnojmhkfmh/

The great oil and gas give away continues despite a very real State contribution to exploration costs

Colm Rapple

Irish Mail on Sunday, December 14, 2008

Oil giant Shell is keeping very tight lipped about the results of an exploratory well it drilled this year on the so-called Dooish prospect some 150 km north-west of Donegal. Earlier wells in this area yielded oil and gas finds which were described at the time as very encouraging. So encouraging, indeed, that Shell was willing to spent over €100 million on this latest well.

Mind you, the Irish taxpayer will be picking up the tab for a large chunk of that cost since Shell can write off the expense against its profits from the Corrib field. Because of that tax concession we effectively pay a quarter of the exploration and development costs of getting oil or gas ashore. That, of itself, would justify the 25% tax we can hope to get on the profits from a find.

With larger finds the tax take can now go up to 40% but even that’s a pittance given that we own the oil and gas. We own the oil and gas, pay 25% of the exploration and development costs and yet, in the case of the Corrib find, for instance, will only get 25% of the profits.

But this latest drilling did cost Shell over €75 million so it was clearly optimistic about the prospects. But neither it, nor the Government, will reveal if that optimism was justified.

We are being denied information that would be very relevant in making a judgement about the appropriate of current Government policy on offshore exploration, in particular it’s approach to Shell’s development in Mayo and its decision to licence further key oil and gas prospects off the west coast on terms that are decidedly soft by international standards.

It suits both the Government and Shell to keep us in the dark. They have been playing down the possibility of other gas finds that could be routed through the Glengad landfall near Rossport in Mayo to the gas refinery being constructed at Bellinaboy. But if there is more gas out there, that’s where it will end up.

And the prospects are good.

While Shell was drilling on the Dooish prospect this year, one of its partners in the Corrib project, StatoilHydro, was drilling on the Cashel prospect which is only about 50km north-west of Belmullet and a lot closer to the Corrib find that Dooish. It was the first drilling into a structure that was believed to be very promising although the industry speculation is that StatoilHydro was disappointed with its results.

But speculation is only that but we won’t really know until StatoilHydro makes a formal statement. Exactly why it is keeping quiet is anyone’s guess.

The Dooish prospect off Donegal is even more promising. An initial well in 2002 encountered a column of hydrocarbon condensate, oil and gas. Shell’s predecessor, Enterprise Oil, was reported to be very encouraged by the results and confirmed that view by returning to the well in 2003, drilling a fresh hole at an angle to the original one. It once again encountered hydrocarbon flows.

These wells are in particularly deep water, some 1700 metres, so it is not surprising that even a very promising find would be left for some years before being revisited. But Shell was obviously sufficiently encouraged by the results to return this year to drill again in an area west of the original find.

The well was spudded on May 19 and plugged on July 28, all without any fanfare, not even a one-line press release from either Shell or the Department.

If the news is in any way good, it calls into question Green Minister Éamon Ryan’s decision to go ahead with another licensing round covering an offshore area the size of the country. We’ve known about his intentions for some time but it’s only in recent weeks that he formally requested applications for exclusive licences to a massive area off the west and north-west coast.

The companies will be able to cherry pick the choice areas and hold exclusive rights to them for sixteen years. To gain a licence they have to commit to an exploration programme but that may be satisfied by relatively cheap seismic studies and need not necessarily include a commitment to drill even a single well.

The licences will be subject to the slightly improved terms under which tax at up to 40% can be levied on very profitable fields. That’s a little better than a flat 25% but compares rather poorly with 50% in Britain, 78% in Norway and over 80% in some other areas.

Andrew Vinall, technical director at the British consultancy Hannon Westwood, recently described the new terms as in keeping with a regime that has always been “benign at least”. Even with the new terms, he added “if you do find oil and/or gas it is not going to be heavily taxed.”

We gave the Corrib gas away and now Éamon Ryan is intent on giving away the remaining choice areas of our offshore acreage at less than bargain basement prices. He risks giving away too much, too soon and too cheaply. Some of the areas on offer are very close to existing finds. If even one of those is declared commercial the terms for future licences could be greatly hardened.

Government studies suggest that there is oil and gas equivalent to 10 billion barrels of oil under the Irish Atlantic shelf. We’ve already given away our right to a significant proportion of it. Let’s not compound the error by issuing more licenses for next to nothing.

Shell to Sea: Review of the Year 2008

featured image
We haven't gone away you know!

2008 has been a year of ups and downs for the Shell to Sea campaign, however generally the last months of the year have been very positive. This is a brief review of the year and a call-out for people to get involved next year when we expect a big push from Shell and the Government to again try to force this project through. At the moment, we are planning on the assumption that a pipe-laying ship (Solitaire or otherwise) will be back anytime from spring next year, to try to finally lay the offshore pipeline.

This year the area saw the switch of emphasis away from the refinery at Bellanaboy to Glengad where Shell wants to bring in the pipeline. While for about the first 6 months of the year people still turned up at the Shell to Sea trailer to show their opposition to the refinery, there wasn't very much physical direct action trying to stop the progress there. I think that after all the peat was removed from the refinery, people generally resigned themselves to the fact that the refinery would be built. Also some people had drifted away from the campaign, some thinking that the outcome was inevitable, and others kept away because they were sick of being harried by Gardaí at Bellanaboy. Since I have come to area, a lot of people involved in the campaign immediately around the pipeline area have always said that it would come down to the land and when Shell tries to come on the land. I always thought this was a risky strategy as if the refinery gets built; there would be even greater pressure on the government to have it used, and not to allow a giant corporation waste its money. However, this is the situation that we find ourselves in, but it has to be said that it is also a risky situation for Shell and the Government. They obviously thought that if they got the project this far, then the local community would see the futility of their fight and give up. This has not happened and will not happen for this next stage of the struggle at least.

Glinsk Proposal

Around late April of this year, a proposal to move the refinery to a more remote onland location – such as Glinsk - was backed by a number of local Shell to Sea people. The proposal had been made the previous November by the 3 priests of the parish to Minister Eamon Ryan but he had made no response. This move was seen by many Shell to Sea members as incompatible with what they had been campaigning for and it created significant difficulties at the time. Pobail Cill Comain was formed by the local people who supported the Glinsk proposal and they have worked closely with Pobail Le Ceile which is a local business group working against the current project.
While this development created some tension at the time, I feel that a lot of people in the area now think that overall it has benefited the campaign against the Corrib Gas Project. The fact that there are 3 groups now working locally against Shell might at times seem like overkill, but it has added new directions and dynamic to the campaign too. It is interesting to see how the mainstream papers have taken to the new groups and now normally add Shell to Sea comments at the end of articles in the "also said" section of the article.


The big action of the year all occurred in the vicinity of Glengad where Shell & Statoil were planning to lay the offshore section of their pipeline. It is worth noting that this is the third attempt - and failure - to lay the offshore section. At the first attempt Enterprise Oil pulled out because of pressure locally, then in 2005 Shell & Allseas pulled the plug under pressure of a High Court case in the pipeline. This year, just before the pipe-laying was supposedly about to commence, a large section of the stinger broke off and the Solitaire eventually limped home for repair. How the stinger was damaged exactly remains a mystery.

What we do know is about the great resistance that took place around Glengad.

Maura Harrington went on a hunger strike from when the Solitaire entered Broadhaven Bay until it left Irish waters. This was a tough time for everyone involved in the campaign with a 24 hour vigil held for the 11 days outside the gates in Glengad where Maura stayed in her car while on hunger strike. Thankfully this ended with a happy outcome and Maura returned gradually to full health. One aspect that remained with me since this was the line from Maura letter to Allseas in which she stated the "people come and go in nano seconds; Place endures". I feel that this statement represents a lot of why Shell and the Government have not got their way so far with this project.

Other great heroes of this episode were undoubtedly Pat and Jonathan O'Donnell and Kevin McAndrew who in their small fishing boats defied the world's largest pipe laying ship and support vessels in-order to defend their livelihoods, property and area. Pat sought the assistance of Gardaí to prevent their lobster pots being damaged by the Solitaire, but instead the fishermen were arrested twice in 24 hours from his traditional fishing territory, and then released without charge. Pat and his son Jonathan lost approximately 150 pots to damage from the Shell fleet. It is worth noting that the fishermen had a legal right to fish in Broadhaven Bay, but in this instance the Gardai hypocritically abandoned the principle of "people’s right to go to work" so often used to break up peaceful protest at Bellanaboy.

Instead the Navy were drafted in along with the Garda Emergency Response Unit, Garda Water Unit and Kent Police (yes that's English police) to stop the rowdy fishermen, locals, national and international supporters.

One interesting point was how some of the media seemed willing to accept that when it was fishermen fighting for their livlihood then the protest was in some ways acceptable but (implicitly) other members of the local community have less of a right to protest unless they are as directly affected.

In the meantime, members of Rossport Solidarity Camp and international supporters took to the seas and began harassing the Solitaire while it was up in Killybegs and disrupting Shell's operations around Glengad. Again on at least two occasions we were extremely lucky that someone didn't get seriously injured or killed when a digger operator continued working and ended up dropping tonnes of debris within feet of 2 protestors. Lots of other resistance around the time included lock-ons and reclaiming access to the beach (albeit temporarily) which was illegally being blocked by Shell fencing. Also a load of solidarity actions happened all around the world at Shell stations and Irish embassies, in places such as Galway, Dublin, Belfast, England, Netherlands, Belgium, Spain and Australia. In the US, I heard of a lady who went on a 3 day fast in solidarity with Maura Harrington’s hunger strike.

On the 22th of July, 13 people challenged the work that Shell were carrying out on the land just over the cliff-face to the beach on a Special Area of Conservation (SAC). They asked to see the legal permission for the work being carried out. Instead of showing any permission however Supt. John Gilligan had the 13 arrested and brought to Belmullet Garda Station where they were subsequently released without charge. However while in the Garda Station, one of the 13, Naoise O'Mongain was injured and subsequently mis-handled by Gardaí and is still on crutches to this day from the incident. These 13 arrests were the among the first of about 50 arrests that happened in course of the next 2 months in Glengad, every single one of whom were subsequently released without charge. In some cases the people involved weren't even told they were arrested or what they were being arrested for.

Regarding the permissions for the land work that took place in Glengad, it turned out that on the 27th of June, Minster for Energy (& former Shell to Sea supporter) Eamon Ryan had given permission for the work in Glengad and exempted the first 100 metres or so (up to the valve station) of the on-shore pipeline from the planning process. However this permission had not been made available to the public, an omission Minister Ryan called an "oversight".

A few days later, local people were pushed off a section of the Glengad beach by about 50 Gardaí and about 70 of Shell's newly employed security force IRMS. Shell then proceeded to fence off about a 100m wide of the section of the beach and so the beach remained split in two for about 4 months. Inspite of Shell claiming in their work method statement that they would allow pedestrian access across this zone, no member of the public was permitted through the fences for about a 4 month period.

At first the security force IRMS (Integrated Risk Management Services) initially took to filming everyone who went down on the beach including young children and swimmers, however the bad publicity that this caused resulted in them being a bit more subtle afterwards.

The works on the site have now all been removed although significant damage has obviously been done to the SAC (water pollution, gravel & silt remain on the beach and churned up soil on land, but this has been totally ignored by National Parks & Wildlife (NPWS) and the Dept of Environment. Hundreds of tonnes of placed material fill were washed away, and the pollution could be seen, the fishermen say, for miles out to sea at times.

One moment I remember down on the beach was when I tried to point out to one of the Gardaí there, how both he and all the Shell workers were basically getting paid from the same purse. He seem to think that I was suggesting that Shell was paying him too. What I meant was that the taxpayer is paying both him (directly) and the Shell employees (indirectly). Because of changes made by Ray Burke in 1987, oil & gas companies can write off all their exploration & development cost against tax. So the tiny percentage of the Corrib Gas field's worth that is to come back to the Irish Exchequer is being lessened by the amount that Shell are spending on security and community bribery funds.

Policing and the Courts

The decision not to prosecute anyone in connection with the resistance in Glengad this year presumably has to do with the shaky legal ground that Shell are on with some of their operations down there. Obviously for the fishermen, their arrest was totally unlawful as they were defending their property and if anyone should have been arrested it should have been the personnel on the Shell vessels. Also it was never made clear to the kayakers or swimmers who were arrested and in some cases illegally detained on the water what exact laws they were breaking other than not obeying a police officer. Also there was the case where people used sledges, car jacks and pipes to take down a number of sections of the fence along the beach in full view of the Gardaí and security. No prosecution has ever come out of this, also presumably because of Shell breaching their exempted permission regulations.

In the courts, it has been a torturously slow progress of the cases dating back to 06 & 07. When you see other cases in the District Court being dealt with fairly rapidly, it seems likely that part of the punishment for being arrested for a Shell to Sea protest is that the case will be dragged out significantly. However it should be noted that this is not always to do with the Judge and sometimes equally to do with delays sought from the defence side. Among some the cases heard this year, John Monaghan who had been found guilty of assault before Judge Mary Devins was found not guilty of assault on appeal. Ed Collins was found not guilty of an assault on a Garda from an incident from which he still has significant injuries. Pat and Jonathan O'Donnell and Enda Carey were found guilty on appeal of a Section 2 assault with sentencing being carried out in the New Year. Michael Healy was recently found guilty of obstruction, while he and 3 others who received significant injuries on the day in question were found not guilty of assault.

Also this year, Maura Harrington took a Judicial Review of Judge Devins’ decision not to allow Ms Harrington to have her own stenographer present to record her court case. The High Court found that Ms Harrington had a right to have a stenographer present at her own expense to record proceedings. Another Judicial Review was taken against Judge Devins’ by a Shell to Sea member which secured the right to get a copy of a court transcript from the hitherto unprecedented provision of stenograpy services at District Court by the Court Services (just for Shell to Sea cases).

Overall I think it’s fairly obvious that the judiciary are not acting independently and that Shell to Sea protestors are getting totally different treatment in front of the courts than if they had been arrested as individuals.

Road to Glengad

One success that Shell seem to have had of late is that the road to Glengad seems to be coming together for them. Mayo County Council (MCC) has really exposed themselves in the manner in which they have pushed this through though. They have resorted to bribing, threatening and bullying people and will now have a reasonably good road for Shell come the spring. They have been working on this 8km section of road for over 6 months now and bit by bit they have taken inches here and there. Recently they (both Shell & MCC) have also succeeded in turning one of the local landowners who had been against the road, with both threats and a significant amount of money. On the road the Road Safety Authority, EPA, Fisheries Board, NPWS, NRA, Ministers for the Environment and MCC themselves, were all made aware of breaches that occurred both in planning and laying of the road but each turned their back on these breaches.

Onshore Planning Application

The manner in which the onshore pipeline planning application has been handled by both Shell and RPS (pipeline planning consultants) to me illustrates both arrogance and incompetence in equal measure.Recently RPS withdrew Shell's planning application under the Strategic Infrastructure Act for the onshore section of the pipeline saying that they will need to seek minor realignments to the pipeline route. RPS and Shell have been working on this planning application for well over a year now and the fact that they had to withdraw it at the final hour must have been some kick in the nuts for them. Basically my reading of the situation is that Shell still hasn’t managed to survey the approximately 3km section of the proposed pipeline route which lies on Rossport commonage. I believe that An Bord Pleanala were trying desperately to accept Shell's planning application (illustrated by the fact that they were willing to receive further information from Shell on the 18th of November), but simply couldn't because of the huge holes that existed in the application. These holes would no doubt have been exposed in an oral hearing by the mountains of knowledge that now exist in this area regarding pipeline siting.

In recent weeks Shell employees and AGEC (Applied Ground Engineering Consultants Ltd) geologists have been trying to get access to the Rossport commonage to do survey work but they have been prevented from doing so by vigilant Rossport residents. The fact that it is presently illegal for Shell to do survey work on the commonage doesn't seem to deter Shell from trying - they have been caught red-handed on at least one occasion. In November 07, Shell sought permission to carry out the survey work on the commonage in Belmullet District court; however Judge Mary Devins found that the notice given by Shell was inadequate and so dismissed Shell's application. The fact that Shell still went ahead with trying to carry out the survey work is surely contempt of court; a similar reason saw the Rossport 5 spent 94 days in jail.

Towards the end of the year Ministers Ryan & O’Cuiv organised a Forum for Development in North West Mayo, which wanted to link the Corrib Gas Project with the local development of North West Mayo. Shell to Sea chose not to part-take in the Ministers’ Forum for one because the Forum refused to discuss the siting of the refinery, the forcing of a raw gas pipeline on the local community and the great gas giveaway. Also the Minister’s Forum is only open to selected groups; therefore any individual who has questions about the Corrib Gas Project cannot attend just to represent their concerns. A separate Peoples Forum, (which was open to all and fully recorded) was held alongside the Minister’s Forum and was a significant success, with local people voicing their concerns.


The main reason for this article is to try to encourage people to get involved. Even though Shell has made progress on the refinery in Bellanaboy, they still face various significant problems in even getting the legal permissions from the more than compliant authorities to finish the project.

However I believe that the only way that this project will be stopped is if people get involved and make it unworkable for both the Government and Shell. This is still possible and the current recession gives us more opportunities to highlight the daylight robbery of our natural resources. When you hear local Fine Gael TD, Michael Ring starting to rail against the giveaway gas deal, I sense he's guessing which way the wind is blowing.

Indications at the moment are that there will be another fourth push by Shell to lay the off-shore section of the pipeline next spring. At that time we really will need people to come and help us here in Erris but also to put as much pressure on the Government and Shell wherever they are.

Last August & September, even amid all the tension and worry regarding the Solitaire and Maura's hunger strike, there was a really good pro-active atmosphere in Glengad and in particular at the Rossport Solidarity Camp, whose marquees appeared once more and attracted many people back to Glengad. The Rossport Solidarity Camp organises from a permanent house and office at Glengad where people are always welcome to come and stay and lend their support. We intend to set up camp again in spring as a solid base for action against Shell and any new attempt of theirs to progress their doomed pipeline laying efforts.

I feel it’s always good to end an article with a quote from a wise man. So in this case the wise man is Trevor Sargent (current Minister for Food & Horticulture) and the quote is from when he addressed the crowd assembled on the day that the Rossport 5 got out of jail.

"At this point I'd like to pay tribute to my parliamentary colleagues in the other smaller parties and independents who have kept pressure on this FF/PD/Shell - like - Government and who continue to stand firm with the people of Rossport. We're united in fighting the good fight. And it feels good. Because we're going to win."

Related Link: http://www.shelltosea.com

The rights and wrongs of the Corrib Community Forum

Thursday, 11 December 2008
Liamy MacNally

liamy MacNallyIT IS comforting to note that the Chairman of the Government-backed Community Forum, Mr Joe Brosnan, is willing to meet local community groups in north Mayo who have decided to stay away from its deliberations. Not so comforting is the news that three Government Ministers, senior Mayo County Council officials and officials from other statutory bodies were present on the opening day, all suited, booted and on expenses.
The hope is that the Community Forum set up in north Mayo last Friday will not become another ‘whipping boy’ against the local community. Representatives of some local groups claim that they wrote to the main Ministers (Éamon Ó Cuív and Eamon Ryan) seeking clarity on the Community Forum before it started. They claim that they were not even afforded an acknowledgment.
The main problem with the Community Forum is that while Ministers and officials can smile for the cameras on the day, the harsh reality is being ignored. The elephant in the room is not being acknowledged – issues of concern to local people that centre on health, safety and the environment. Before the Forum even got under way the shackles of power had been tightened around its agenda – no discussion of a possible relocation of the Bellanaboy site and no revisiting of consents and permissions granted by Government departments. Already the Forum is doomed to failure by its limitations and its unwillingness to address the issues that have dogged the Corrib gas project since its inception. The only changes from the Government and Shell’s side have been the faces of the personnel dealing with the local people. The local people who raised concerns at the outset are still there, beating their drum, singing the same song that will not be silenced by cheque-book submissions. Peddling the Community Forum as a pretext for managing the benefits of the Corrib gas project for Erris and northwest Mayo and the region only adds to the problems. There are still too many unresolved issues that financial benefits, emanating from the state or Shell, are not of concern to people for whom local consent is still a major worry. How many times must it be said that health, safety, the environment and local consent are what should be tackled in any forum? What is the Government afraid of?
Too many Government ‘initiatives’ associated with the Corrib gas project have been used to belittle local people. The Advantica Report, Peter Cassells’ recommendations and many other so-called reports have been used as cannon fodder against local people, to name but a few. The Community Forum will become the latest weapon against local people if local concerns are not addressed. Window-dressing is not what is needed at this stage of the Corrib saga but truth and a willingness to listen to genuinely-held concerns.
The Corrib history is littered with questions. It started with Coillte’s sale of the site without any reference to the local community, which is against Government policy. When legal issues emanated over the upstream pipeline a new law was introduced by Government. When the project was floundering in the judicial bogs the Strategic Infrastructure Bill came in handy. The pipeline was welded together without permission by Shell even though a senior Government official told a judge under oath that all consents were in place. Removing the peat in Bellanaboy was ‘impossible’ at one stage, then it was done! The original planning permission for the refinery has had four alternations with another in the offing. Putting the pipeline through the bog was not an option one time, now it is perfectly feasible. The list goes on. In a recent interview the Garda Commissioner stated that he would need extra gardaí for the laying of the upstream pipeline next year, yet no decision has been made on this. Does he know something other people do not?
I admit that it is not popular to highlight negatives about the Corrib project. Shell has done an excellent job with its PR machine, winding its way into every nook and cranny of life in Mayo. It has used donations and grants while also drawing on the expertise of professional people, from former journalists and clergy to senior former Council officials and former senior Gardaí. Action is taken on critical reports, sometimes directly, other times, indirectly. Of course there is pressure placed on people who make negative comments about the project. Sure, there are positives with Corrib, from construction jobs to security of supply for the State (but not at reduced prices!) It all boils down to a simple question – do the ‘rights’ of a multi-national, in association with the State and state bodies, take precedence over the rights and concerns of actual people? Put that on the Forum agenda.

Positive steps on first day of engagement

Tuesday, 09 December 2008

THE Chairman of the Community Forum for Development in North West Mayo, Mr Joe Brosnan, engaged in contingency talks in the coming weeks with some community groups opposing the Corrib gas project.
A retired senior civil servant, Mr Brosnan was in Belmullet on Friday last with Ministers Eamon Ryan and Éamon Ó Cuív for the inaugural session, which was boycotted by a number of groups opposing the controversial project.
Community groups Pobal Chill Chomáin, Pobal le Chéile and Shell to Sea believe the terms of reference should include the relocation of the refinery at Bellanaboy and should prioritise community consent.
However, during informal engagements at the forum venue, Mr Brosnan asked the Chairman of local business group Pobal le Chéile, Mr Ciarán Ó Murchú, to outline to him a process which would be acceptable to his group – and Pobal Chill Chomáin – to ensure their future inclusion.
Mr Brosnan said there was not any ‘no-go’ area and that he was disappointed that all those invited had not attended the forum.

Meanwhile, a broad range of community groups and State agencies engaged with the one-day forum, initiated by the two Ministers on November 6 last, to address concerns about the Corrib gas project and overall economic development in the Erris region.
In attendance, Shell Ireland’s Managing Director, Mr Terry Nolan, said the company will work with the forum’s chairman and other participants ‘to leverage the development opportunities that will flow from Corrib’.

Speaking at the forum, Minister Ryan said: “Safety, environmental concerns and equitable dealings towards all will be my priorities throughout this process.”
He also observed that north west Mayo could become an energy hub and ‘has some of the best ocean and wind resources in the world’.
Addressing the forum, Minister Ó Cuív said: “We have to do all we can to maximise the local dividend of such a major project, so that we have the best outcome for Ireland, for Mayo and particularly for Erris.”

At a press briefing afterwards, he likened the potential of the initiative to Northern Ireland’s Forum for Peace and Reconciliation, but stressed that both Ministers had to act within legal constraints.
When asked about ongoing High Court legal challenges to original consents, Minister Ó Cuív said that any such rulings would also be adhered to.
Chairman of the Erris Inshore Fishermen’s Association (EIFA), Mr Eddie Diver, who participated, said the forum should have happened years ago when it could have made a real difference.
“Our group resolved our issues with Shell during the summer over the disposal of pollutants at sea. We think the forum is constructive but the terms of reference are too narrow,” said Mr Diver.
Local Fianna Fáil councillor, Tim Quinn, also criticised the narrowness of the terms of reference. “The forum should be open to everyone and the terms of reference should include the issue of the location of the refinery. What’s the point of having dialogue when the whole agenda is constricted,” said Cllr Quinn.
Chief Supt Tony McNamara expressed his disappointment that opponents of the project had declined to engage with the project. He said it was the function of the Gardaí to maintain law and order and conceded that there had ‘obviously been significant policing issues’ relating to the project.
Chairman of Pobal Chill Chomáin, Vincent McGrath, said that all parties agree that the Erris region needs sustained economic development but that shouldn’t be confused with ‘the elephant in the room which is Corrib’.

Mr PJ Moran noted that ‘one good thing’ about the initiative was that ‘a finger could now be pointed at specific Government Ministers’ about ongoing problems.
“Next summer when they try to lay the pipeline and there are bodies all over Rossport, Éamon Ó Cuív and Eamon Ryan will have to take responsibility for it,” said PJ Moran of Pobal Chill Chomáin.

Shell to Sea held a separate open forum at the same venue on Friday. They highlighted ‘the continued Government giveaway of [the country’s] oil and gas resources at a time of great economic need’ and the situation of the refinery in a water catchment as further key issues.

New Corrib Gas Documentary

by Revolt Video Collective

This video represents the many people not given a voice in the mainstream media.
They have been denied a voice mainly because of their dissenting views about the Corrib gas project in its current form.

There are interviews with many people who have suffered both personally and financially for daring to oppose the oil and gas industry.

This industry has been supported by the various intimidatory and violent methods used by the Garda.

The mainstream media has consistently misrepresented the facts, and has failed to report human rights abuses taking place in Mayo.

It has instead tried to demonise anybody who goes against their neo-liberal view-point on how Ireland should be organized and structured.

Most of the interviews were filmed over the last month.

Thanks to all of the people who generously gave up their time and energy to make this no budget documentary.

This is the first part of an ongoing documentary about the Corrib Gas Project.

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