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Protest camp against Shell pipeline in Ireland

category ireland / britain | environment | news report author Wednesday June 08, 2005 19:16author by Mark + Krossie - WSM Report this post to the editors

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
Meeting at the camp

Shell and The Irish State V's The People

Reclaiming our land, resources and our lives from Private Gain

Mark Malone

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 'democracy'.

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 like that?

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.

Great camp!

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 other!

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

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