10 May 2009

Seven Anti-Shell Protesters arrested in Glengad

Seven local men, aged from late teens to mid-forties, have been arrested by Gardaí during an organised protest at the heavily fortified Shell compound in Glengad, Co. Mayo yesterday (photo left).

They were taken to the nearby Garda Station at Ballina and kept there overnight. Today it was announced that they all have been charged with a number of "public order offences" and will appear before a Judge at the local District Court on Wednesday.

The campaign group Shell to Sea, which is opposing the Corrib Offshore Pipeline for more than seven years, had planned to dismantle some of the metal fencing (photo right) surrounding the Shell compound, which they claim was erected illegally in recent weeks.

In Erris, Co. Mayo, local activists of the group had in fact declared May 9th, 2009 a "National Day of Action" and sent out a call for supporters to come and join them at 6 pm outside the occupation forces' HQ compound at Glengad. Many came and formed a large protest and support group, while some individuals attempted to work on the metal barrier, which they want to see removed.

Demonstrators criticised the strong Garda (police) presence around Glengad, which was sent there in support of the 'Blue & Limes', hired thugs Shell employs at the compound as private 'security guards'.

Garda Inspector John Ferris declared that the amount of policemen he had been allocated was chosen "on the basis of the threat posed by the demonstrators".

This has been the rolling argument of the government and the Garda Síochána (Ireland's police) ever since the local residents began their protest more than seven years ago.
But the vast majority of the protesters are peaceful and have no intention to escalate the situation. Many of them are elderly and middle-aged people who have lived and worked in the area all their lives.
Occasionally there has been some direct action by activists, but none of it would justify the exceptionally large Garda presence. (At times the government has even despatched two of the eight patrol vessels of the Irish Naval Service to the area, which is not only out of all proportion, but also a colossal waste of money. Our Naval Service is a very small force and over-stretched with its normal duties already.)

Meanwhile Shell EP Ireland said that "all necessary consents have been given for the laying of the Corrib Offshore Pipeline in 2009, including the associated works around Glengad".

But local residents, most of which are active members of the Shell to Sea movement, dispute this vigorously.

Shell to Sea spokesman Terence Conway says that yesterday's demonstration was peaceful and "about sending a message to the government, highlighting the local community's opposition to the dangerous pipeline coming ashore".

As neither Shell nor the Irish government are showing any signs of understanding or willingness to compromise, the protest of the Shell to Sea movement will continue. Local residents have pointed out repeatedly that for them this is - literally - "a matter of life or death" and that they will not back down.

The Emerald Islander

1 comment:

Socialism or Barbarism said...

I like your blog and will subscribe.
Here's a link to an article produced on the Great Corrib Gas Giveaway.

Post a Comment