Rossport Solidarity Camp Returns to Glengad with a Fresh Call Out for Action in 2008


The Rossport Solidarity Camp was originally set up on ‘Rossport 5’ Philip McGrath’s land in 2005. In the Spring of 2006 the camp was set up again close to the beach at Glengad near the ‘landfall’ for Shell’s proposed pipeline. Following a mendacious but successful application by Mayo County Council for an order of eviction against the camp in September of 2007, the camp agreed to leave the dunes by January 1st 2008. Since then the 'camp' has organised from the Rossport Solidarity House in PollathomasOn Saturday 16th August 2008 the camp was set up afresh for the purposes of reorganising Shell to Sea resistance to Shell's latest plans to construct its offshore section of the pipeline from Glengad out to the Corrib Gas Field. A number of actions against that work have already taken place and local, national and international supporters are returning to the area to continue the fight.

As one supporter put, "If there was ever a time to come to Mayo, this is it".

Shell to Sea are reorganising in light of Shell's current plans to develop their offshore pipeline. The Solitaire pipe-laying ship has been expected for a number of weeks now, but has delayed in coming for reasons which include weather conditions and, in the author's opinion, the stiffening of resistance to its arrival.

The new camp which was set up on Saturday 16th, with the permission of a local landowner, near the Shell compound at Glengad beach, drew swift attention from Shell security and Gardaí who joined forces on Friday 22nd and formed a line unlawfully, but only temporarily, to close off the public beach there. Because of confusion over the sole ownership of the land where the camp was based, Garda Supt. John Gilligan decided to enforce a complaint of trespass against the camp from another member of the family who lives abroad but who appears to have a substantial claim on the land. Supt. Gilligan arrived to the camp on the Friday evening to give the camp 48 hours to leave or else face threat of removal by Gardaí under Section 19 of the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act 1994, as amended by Section 24 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2002.

After some communications over the course of the weekend with Supt. Gilligan, who said he had seen land documents supporting his position but wouldn't show them, the camp decided, to cut a long story short, to leave that field and not to call his bluff by offering any resistance. We requested more time to leave which he agreed to, and on Monday afternoon the marquee and all camping equipment was moved by a tractor from that field, up to the road, and down into another field further along the shore, where we have secured permission from the sole landowner, without dispute.

Going back to an outrageous incident during the occupation of the beach by Gardaí and Shell security on Friday 22nd, a Garda bearing the number GW198, who refused to identify himself after kicking a young boy on the beach has been accused of assault by his mother who witnessed the whole incident. See more on this in the Mayo News here .

Meanwhile 'the Chief' Pat O'Donnell has been defending his 800 lobster and crab pots further out to sea in Broadhaven Bay from theft by a Shell's 'Highland Navigator' ship which has been sending an ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle), a submarine, below water to rip Pat's gear from their spot at sea where the Chief is licensed to fish. Pat's calls to the Gardaí and the ministers for justice and marine, looking for protection, have been disgracefully unheeded, and Pat and his family and friends have been on the water night and day defending their rights and their gear from Shell, who want to simply steal them and remove them from the path of the Solitaire pipe-laying ship. As I understand it, the Highland Navigator backed away from it's assault on the O'Donnells' boats after a radio call from the Chief to the H.N. skipper to stop endangering the life of his son Jonathan with his manoeuvres; an appeal which was heard by this author on VHF radio.

The Solitaire, according to this updated Marine Notice is due to arrive today or tomorrow. However, an article in today’s Irish Times by Lorna Siggins suggests that the only way to resolve this particular dispute at this stage will be to seek the ruling of a judge in the courts. For more on this see also a report by Áine Ryan in today's Mayo News here .

Shell to Sea Action Call Out.
Friends and supporters Update.

At present, the arrival of the giant pipe-laying ship, the Solitaire is imminent.

As the actions last Thursday ( Shell halted as Shell to Sea '8' are illegally detained ) proved, there are many ways to disrupt this latest chapter of Shell and the State’s skulduggery in North West Mayo.

Last week’s callout was very successful with large numbers responding and performing a multiplicity of roles in the resistance, both on land and at sea.

Activists from all over Ireland and further afield have congregated and numbers have swelled, which when taken with the ever-defiant local community, has given Shell and its partners in crime a lot to think about.

Sunday afternoon saw a show of strength at the Solidarity Camp as the police-imposed eviction deadline of 3pm came and went.

Rather than give the boys in blue the satisfaction of having distracted our focus from the Solitaire's arrival (and our intention to scupper its delicate pipe-laying operation), a meeting of locals and activists came to the consensus that moving the camp (two fields across!) was the correct option.

The new and improved camp is located within a stone's throw of Glengad beach where Shell intend in the next week to landfall their pipe with the aid of a giant winch which will drag it to shore.

The camp is complimented by an office and a house one mile away where activists who prefer a more solid roof can stay as long as they please.

We will not be distracted or delayed by obtuse linguistic legal wrangling, our focus is on the Solitaire and the butchery it intends to inflict on this most beautiful of landscapes and its people.

We will never accept this project in its current form and we are committed to the original Shell to Sea aims which are as follows:

1) The refining of the gas on an offshore platform, negating the need for any raw gas high pressure pipeline, as recommended in 2002 by Mr. Kevin Moore, Senior Inspector with An Bord Pleanala who said simply that this was the 'wrong project in the wrong place' for many reasons.

2) The reclamation of the natural resources from the oil and gas companies and the reviewing of the current but outdated licensing and fiscal terms which amount to the 'Great Gas Giveaway', which means that the people of Ireland benefit nothing from the exploitation of Irish Natural Resources.

3) The restoration of civil liberties to citizens and supporters, and the defence & vindication of the rights of those engaged in the legitimate protest and opposition to the Shell Corrib Gas Project

Shell to Sea is alive and well and fighting tooth and nail for the safety of this community and the natural resources of our country’s people.

Your help is needed!

Actions are ongoing and will intensify with the arrival of the Solitaire. There is a role for everyone, regardless of age, experience, availability and skill. The areas you can help with are endless and particularly in the fields of camp support, water based skills, legal, cooking, medical, media and of course direct action.

The atmosphere is resurgent in the area, with a fresh burst of confidence evident among both locals, national and international Shell to Sea activists. This is a golden opportunity to reinvigorate the fight against this project in a meaningful and effective way.

Shell can only hold onto the rented Solitaire for a limited period of time and all efforts to hinder its progress will seriously damage Shell's plans.

The choppy waters of Broadhaven Bay will hopefully aid us in our actions but we need you too!

Come to Erris!

Contact: email & phone 0851141170
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