The long running struggle in Erris (Rossport) against Shell's attempt to impose an experimental gas pipeline on the local community has once more errupted in recent days with the arrival of the Solitaire to attempt to bring the pipeline to shore. In his article Erris: Community in Struggle against Shell WSM member Sean Mallory details the latest events following the resumption of construction. Here we provide background articles on the struggle and a focus on the events of last Summer and Autumn which culminated in Shell having to halt construction over winter.

We are using the WSM twitter account to provide you with live updates from WSM members in Erris and elsewhere involved in this struggle and to let you know of developments and new information as soon as we become aware of them.

The WSM has been active within the community and the national campaign since its beginning. For us, the basis of this campaign is direct action; a local community struggling to gain control over their own environment and the decisions that affect them. Back in 2006 we published this overview of the struggle and laid out the reasons why the Shell pipeline at Rossport is not safe. As well as the issue of local safety the core issue of the struggle continues to be the deal Shell was given for the gas extraction which will see them pay no royalties, this is why Ireland stands to lose €400 billion in natural gas and oil deposits.

The struggle last year

At the end of July 2008 13 people were arrested on the public beach as Glenagad for demanding to see Shell’s permission to start construction work on the beach. Shell responded by importing dozens of private security and state police onto the beach and sealing a large section of this public beach off with fences.

In August as serious construction got underway a further 8 people were arrested as they entered the water to try and halt construction. During this protest a giant Shell digger dumped a huge quantity of material almost on top of one of the people in the water showing a complete disregard for their safety. Meanwhile at sea a Shell boat was harassing local fishermen who were continuing to work in the bay.

In September the worlds largest pipe laying ship, the Solitaire, arrived in Broadhaven bay. We interviewed Cormac, a WSM member who was in Erris waiting for the ships arrival and took part in Rossport Solidarity protests in Dublin. Something mysterous happened to the Solitaire in Broadhaven bay, during the night the pipe laying 'stinger' became badly damaged with a large section falling into the bay and having to be later recovered. The Solitaire was forced to retreat and comstruction halted for the months that followed.

We used WSM twitter account t account to provide you with live updates from WSM members in Erris and elsewhere involved in this struggle and to let you know of developments and new information as soon as we become aware of them.

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