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Recent articles by Andrew N Flood
Recent Articles about Ireland / Britain Community struggles
Resistance issue 151 - May 2013 May 03 13
Protests at Shell HQ against jailing of fisherman Pat O'Donnell
ireland / britain | community struggles | news report Wednesday February 17, 2010 18:34 by Andrew N Flood - WSM - personal capacity andrewnflood at gmail dot com
Over 50 Shell to Sea campaigners gathered at the Shell head quarters in Leeson street Dublin Tuesday evening to protest at the jailing of 52 year old Erris fisherman Pat O'Donnell for resisting Shell's experimental gas pipeline. Pat received a seven month sentence which has the added benefit for Shell of taking his boat off of Broadhaven Bay for the period they need to carry out major underwater construction work and repairs. Pat has twice previously been arrested and held without charge when Shell has needed to carry out work in the bay.
There has been a long running struggle in Erris, an isolated and impoverished area of rural Ireland, for most of the last decade. Shell have been attempting to impose an experimental gas pipeline on the local community many of whose houses lie within the blast radius that would result in the event of a pipeline failure. As well as the issue of pipeline safety the Shell to Sea campaign is also demanding an end to the Great Oil and Gas Giveaway under which Shell and other corporations are been given the oil & gas reserves found around Ireland (minimum value 420 billion) without paying any royalties. The last five years in particular have seen many protests where residents, supported by others who have travelled to the area to show solidarity, have attempted to block construction or dismantle the frequently illegal structures that have been erected. The Irish state has reacted with waves of violence and then arrests and a massive deployment of security forces that has seen over 21 million euro wasted and at its peak seen up to 700 personnel from the police, Navy, airfare and private security forces deployed agains the local community. Workers Solidarity Movement members have been consistently involved alongside others with solidarity work in this struggle both locally and elsewhere in Ireland.
Pat O’Donnell was well known to all of us and all those who have visited the camp as he has spent much time explaining the issues to visitors to the area. Dublin Shell to Sea spokesperson Caoimhe Kerins said: “Pat O’Donnell is a well respected and popular local fisherman in Mayo. He is known to all in the community and everyone is deeply upset by his imprisonment and the smears against his character for his opposition to the Corrib Gas Project in its current form. Pat O’Donnell is a gentleman who is neither a ‘bully’ nor a ‘thug’. He is standing up his and his community’s rights and has been criminalised and vilified for doing so. It is unacceptable that Shell to Sea campaigners are being criminalised for their opposition to the Corrib Gas Project. The law is being applied in an extremely selective manner in Mayo. Thirty local people were hauled up in front of the courts last week alone all on minor charges.”
Terence Conway, a resident of the area and Shell to Sea spokesperson, said in response to the sentence "the jailing of Pat O Donnell shows selective prosecution on behalf of the Gardaí. Pat O'Donnell was picked out of a crowd of 60 people. The sentences are totally disproportionate to any alleged law-breaking and seem to be a punishment for opposing the Governments' facilitation of Shell. Pat O'Donnell has been a constant thorn in Shell's side as he has refused to be bought off, and has upheld his legal and traditional right to fish in Broadhaven Bay. Now, as Shell prepare to occupy Broadhaven Bay in the coming months for further pipeline work, Pat O'Donnell is conveniently stuck in jail."
Whenever Shell have needed to carry out construction work in the bay Pat has been removed from the scene. In the summer of 2008 and 2009 this mean his arrest while fishing on the bay and his detention without charge until pieces of work had been done. More sinisterly on 11 June 2009 Pat's boat was sunk by 4 armed and masked men who boarded it while he fished at night in the bay shortly after it emerged that several men who had worked as security at the Shell compound the previous summer had been involved in an attempt to start a civil war in Bolivia. (see The Shadow over Erris ).
The jailing of Pat and the sentencing of several other Shell to Sea campaigners comes in the aftermath of An Bord Pleanala vindicating the opposition of the local community to the experimental gas pipeline when it found in November that up to half of Shell's proposed onshore pipeline route was "unacceptable" on safety grounds. Even mainstream journalists have acknowledged that this finding means "members of the local community didn’t just have a right to protest. They had a duty to do so." (Fintan O'Toole, Irish Times, Feb 16). Shell in the meantime are pushing ahead with the construction project with the fullbacking of the Irish state including the 'Green' Party. The Green Party in opposition took part in protests against the experimental pipeline, once in government the same people declared it safe!
This audio file is an interview with Dublin Shell to Sea spokesperson Caoimhe Kerins carried out during the protest which covers not only Pat's jailing but also the scale of the great oil and gas giveaway under which the energy corporations stand to pocket hundreds of billions that should be funding health and education. After Caoimhe there are some brief comments from Dermot about the anonymous nature of Shell's HQ. The audio file is about 10 minutes in duration.
Wed 26 Nov, 14:39
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Hundreds of Garda deployed to protect Shell's machine from the people of Ireland 14:47 Wed 01 Aug 0 comments
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Dublin: The eviction of the Occupy Dame Street camp 21:19 Thu 08 Mar 0 comments
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Detailed account of Shell's prosecution of 19 more people for ongoing resistance in Erris, Ireland 21:14 Thu 08 Mar 0 comments
The end of February saw 19 Shell to Sea campaigners, including a WSM member, being prosecuted on 80 charges for civil disobediance against Shell's decade long attempt to impose an experimental high pressure raw gas pipeline on the communities of Erris. Over 8,000 euro in fines were handed down by this special sitting of the Belmullet court and Shell to Sea spokesperson Terence Conway was given two 3-month prison sentences under section 8 of the Public Order Act for blocking the road on two seperate occasions, a 'crime' that anyone following the struggle will be aware Shell's private security company committs three times a day with the co-operation of the Gardai. (Image: Community show support in advance of the court cases, J Bender, RSC)
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Mid-December saw the eventual publication of the long-threatened household tax legislation. The first three months of 2012 will present every household in Ireland with a choice: whether to succumb to this new home tax, which along with the proposed water tax will rise to approx €1,200 per annum within a couple of years, or to refuse to register, refuse to pay and make a stand against the costs of bailing out bankers and developers continuing to be hoisted on our shoulders.
The liberation of a former Bank of Ireland building in Belfast 17:29 Wed 18 Jan 0 comments
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Occupy 'x' arrives in Ireland with Occupy Dame street 22:56 Wed 12 Oct 0 comments
The 'Occupy X' movement arrived in Ireland over the weekend when a core group of around 50 people set up camp at the Central Bank Plaza on Dame street. Numbers grew to a few hundred at times over the next days and nights as supporters came down to join in for a while and the curious stopped to see what was going on. Issues highlighted by participants included the bank bail out, IMF intervention & the ongoing Great Oil & Gas Giveaway.more >>
Dublin City Council have new by laws to permit officials to interrogate members of the public as to how they are disposing of their rubbish. When the councils started charging for waste disposal years back numerous people refused to pay, the councils then withdrew their collections and ultimately the service was privatised. At the time of the introduction of a fee for rubbish collection some environmentalists argued it was a good thing that would lead to greater recycling and lower waste production. The councils began charging for recycling also of course.
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Household Tax- planning to win - democracy is the key May 19 0 comments
The National Conference of the Campaign Against the Household and Water Taxes this Saturday will be making some key decisions that will determine the future success of the campaign. The ultimate objective of our campaign should be to ensure that everyone who gets involved in it can have an equal input into our decision-making. This will make for a more democratic and far more efficient Campaign which large numbers of people will feel direct ownership of. That will mean a far stronger Campaign and one capable of winning. On Saturday we will be distributing this text which explains the case for direct democracy as a leaflet to those attending the conference.
Shell to Sea have released a very detailed report into the GSOC 'investigation' of the Garda at the center of the 'Corrib Cops Rape Tape' which first came to public attention one year ago today. The report reveals that the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) engaged in spin and misinformation that misled the public over the Corrib ‘rape’ recording incident of March 2011 and undermined the case against Gardaí. The report details GSOC’s attempts to serve the interests of An Garda Síochána by undermining the women who made the recording public, while deflecting attention from the behaviour of Gardaí. The document was prepared by Shell to Sea with one of the women about whom the ‘rape’ comments were made and seven academics at NUI Maynooth. It has been made available online as a PDF and we are republishing it here:more >>
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