Protest camp against Shell pipeline in Ireland
ireland / britain |
Wednesday June 08, 2005 19:16 by Mark + Krossie - WSM
Last bank Holiday weekend dozens of activists headed to the western coast of Ireland to join local residents at a protest camp against a Shell gas pipeline being brought ashore there. Two WSM members report on the camp and the issue.
Meeting at the camp
Shell and The Irish State V's The People
Reclaiming our land, resources and our lives from Private
Yet again Shell have found themselves in a battle against a local
population, whose safety, quality of life and freedoms are to be
curtailed in order that the company, with the support of the of the
government and judicial system, can further its ongoing campaign of
environmental degradation and human exploitation.
Readers may be aware of Shell's appalling record, including their
involvement with the Nigerian government's execution of nine social
justice and environmental activists including Ken Saro-Wiwa. In 1989
in despair at the continuing destruction of their land Saro-Wiwa, an
author and playwright, established the Movement for the Survival of
the Ogoni People (MOSOP) demanding autonomy for their region and a
fair share of oil wealth. As the protests escalated Shell had to pull
out of Ogoni land. A leaked memo stated that operations were
impossible "unless ruthless military operations are undertaken for
smooth economic activities to commence."
Shell are now taking on the might of local Mayo residents, civil
rights campaigners and activists who are forging stronger links in
the face of increasing corporate control of our lives. So what
exactly is it about this proposed resource exploitation that has
galvanised such resistance? Well, besides the fact that the
government and judiciary are colluding in stealing land from the
local people for the private gain of their business friends, the
nature of the proposed large scale refinery and high pressure
pipeline is very dodgy indeed. A pipeline of this design has never
been built before, and the safety concerns of residents are very
justified. The pressure inside the pipeline will be up to four times
that of the biggest Bord Gas pipeline. The area that the pipeline is
pencilled in on runs over much bog land, which is known to be
unstable and renders the qualified safety guarantees, based upon
laboratory experiments, as rather meaningless. The company who
designed the pipeline was also given the task of assessing its
safety. That's a bit like demanding decommissioning and 'peaceful'
electoral politics whilst letting a foreign army use your airports to
conduct acts of terrorism in the name of democracy…oh yeah!!!
It is also proposed to build a massive oil refinery on this land,
rather than at sea. The primary reason for this is to lower costs for
Shell, therefore maximizing profit, at the expense of the local
population. Carrowmore Lake, the source of the local water supply,
will be affected by emissions from the plant. It's also proposed to
pump toxic waste into Broadhaven Bay, an important breeding and
rearing area for dolphins and whales. This area of Mayo holds some of
the few remaining tracts of common land in the country, a old concept
of shared existence that capitalists and ministers alike would prefer
to see buried under a pipeline, rather than given new life, embodied
as it is by those resisting and struggling all over the planet
against the institutionalised exploitation of neo-liberal
The Irish government is complicit in practically giving away our
shared natural gas resources to private companies, who have the
resources to 'lobby' ministers whilst we get to stick an 'x' in a box
every few years. The state or rather the people, used to have a
minimum 50% stake in these resources. Taxation was reduced to 25%,
with all costs being tax deductible….nothing new there then I hear
you say….no wonder these business criminals at Shell made a profit of
18 billion euros last year.. that's more than 1 million an hour
profit and a rise of 48%. When was the last time your wage jumped
The power wielded by these organisations is greater than that of
many, if not all governments and makes a mockery of certain
countries' claims to democracy. Multinationals are beholden neither
to local communities nor to national electorates, they are the chief
obstacle to the resolution of our environmental and social problems.
70% of all world trade is now controlled by just 500 corporations.
The whole issue brings into question the way our world is run and
controlled by huge multinational companies unaccountable and
uncaring, continually over-riding the wishes of people and the planet
in their ruthless quest for profits. It must go further than a simple
boycott. It must be about challenging the way the world is being
destroyed to satisfy the greedy few. So where to do we begin? Get
yourself informed, get yourself active. Fight back - as well as
working towards sustainable lifestyles.
by krossie -
The rally/camp in Eris was really, really excellent this week end.
People are very strong and determined and prepared for a fight back.
We got a very detailed tour of the stretch were the pipeline is to
come in. We also poked around the "plant".
The security were delighted to see us and we had fun filming each
The main issues, I think are the clear and present danger to human
life and the fact that the Irish state is recklessly endangering
citizens BUT that it won't see a penny in royalties and very very
little tax from the gass field.
Also the area has been made completely independent of the entire
planning process by the minister. It is an independent statelet under
the control of Shell, Statoil and Marathon
Based on articles first published on indymedia.ie