Report of Rossport Solidarity Camp weekend

Date:

The June bank holiday saw over half the membership of the WSM travel across Ireland to take part in a weekend of activity organised by the Rossport Solidarity Camp. Rossport is a very isolated village on the Atlantic shore where Shell and Statoil are trying to impose a dangerous gas pipeline on the local population. Last year five local men spent months in prison for defying Shell. We asked one of the RSC organisers to write for our paper about the weekend.


 

Rossport Solidarity Weekend

The sweltering sun of the June Bank holiday weekend shone down on over one hundred and fifty people attending a gathering at the Rossport Solidarity Camp. This marked the first anniversary of the Solidarity Gathering last June, at which Shell to Sea groups for different parts of the country were established and at which the camp was born. The camp has been a base for people to travel to the area to join in the residents’ pickets and other actions against Shell.

The gathering focused on resistance to the privatisation of natural resources and had talks on the situations in regard to that in Ireland, Bolivia and Venezuela. The recently formed activist film group Revolt Video ran a cinema for the duration of the weekend, as well as filming the entire event.

Workshops included bender construction, this being a form of large tent made out of bendable hazel poles, and long drawing, which involved a whole bunch of people collectively making a painting of Broadhaven bay.

The weekend also featured report backs from the Afghan hunger strike solidarity protest, from an anti-pylon campaign in Bantry, and from a campaign in Limerick which is seeking to prevent a community from being switched to a polluted public water supply. On Saturday night there was a trad session in a nearby pub, and on Sunday night there were djs on the beach.

At the moment Shell and the state are attempting to keep things low key and use time to demobilise the opposition to the destruction of Erris and the robbery of our gas. We have to counter this by becoming more proactive. We need to draw greater public attention to the situation in regard to the privatisation of natural resources, and link this up with the under funding crisis in the health service. We need to stress what the gas, and probable oil, off our coast could pay for, if it were not being given away for next to nothing. That sounds like an overstatement, but the fact is, between 1987 and 1992 successive governments switched the tax regime for oil and gas exploitation from 50% to 25% with tax write offs for production and exploration costs going back decades. Hence a company can claim its costs as tax, and pay less tax. We need to campaign more for our natural resources to be used to pay for our schools and hospitals.

The opposition to Shell’s hell for Mayo has been very successful up to this point, and is very winnable, but there is no room for complacency. We need your involvement in order to win.

You can get in touch with Rossport Solidarity Camp by contacting: 087 6543425 (Tracey) 086 3588890 (Michael). For more information see: http://www.indymedia.ie/mayo, http://www.struggle.ws/rsc or http://www.shelltosea.com

Terry Dunne


 

This article is from
Workers Solidarity 92, published June/July 2006

You can download the PDF file of WS92

WS92 cover

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