Articles from press releases - Garda wielding commando knife at Rossport

A brief account of yet more occupations of Shell drilling rigs in Rossport written from  Shell to Sea press releases for the WSM site.  I've recently started doing this quite a bit figuring that as such press releases are written for the media to hopefully copy and paste and article from it makes sense for us to do this for our own media as opposed to simply republishing the press release.  In the case of the first story I also thought the original press release rather buried the lead, the 'Knife wielding Garda' that I brought back into the first paragraph and the title.

I used the same press release as source material for a WSM journalism workshop I ran as part of a training weekend we had a few days back.  Three groups were given the press release and told to draft an article from it, all three also choose to use the knife wielding Garda as the headline / first sentence.  It's perhaps a bit of a tabloid touch but I've previous in that regard, I think anarchist news writing often suffers from being too 'paper of record' in style (eg Irish Times, New York Times, etc) or the opposite extreme of breathless communiques about insignficant property damage in the case of the house style of North American insurrectionalists.

There have been a good number of developments around the struggle against Shell in Erris in recent weeks including the release of a significant journalistic history of the struggle.  I've a somewhat fuzzy head this morning after attending the Dublin launch of the book where wine flowed in large amounts for a packed shop that included a large number of the locals who had travelled to Dublin and most of the Dublin Shell to Sea campaign group.  I'll try and blog some of this and hopefully read and write a review of the book in the next couple of weeks.


Garda wielding commando knife brings 19 hour Shell rig occuption to an end

A spokesperson for the Rossport Solidarity Camp described how an occupation of a Shell drilling platform was brought to an end when the last campaigner was removed when "a Garda climbed out to him with a commando knife and no harness or support gear to hold himself up. He slashed through the ropes, pulled at the person and elbowed him in the head."  This followed a a successful 12 hour occupation of a Shell's platform earlier this week (see photo).

Eyewitnesses described how "The protest had stated on Wednesday when three Shell to Sea campaigners boarded one of Shell's drilling platforms in the estuary along the proposed route for the Corrib gas pipeline. This occupation is the second time in three days that campaigners have halted Shell from continuing their investigative drilling in the SAC. Monday also saw. On Wednesday the protesters climbed up the legs of the platform to prevent it from moving to a new position in the estuary."

The protesters were prepared for a lengthy occupation with food, water, and even a hammock. All three stayed through the night despite the rain. Just after dawn one of the protesters came down, but the other two remained in their positions. The Garda water unit issued the standard catch all section 8 warnings used against campaigners all over Ireland and thenboarded the drill rig climbing down from the top of the platform to where the protesters were situated.

Brian Loftus a member of the Rossport Solidarity Camp who witnessed the attack from the shore described how it was  “Lucky no one was seriously hurt this morning, it could have been much worse. After the protesters were removed from the legs, the Garda with the knife fell off the platform and into the water. It is unbelievable that the Garda water unit would be that reckless with their own safety and ours.”

WORDS:Andrew IMAGES: From the article on Monday's
Originally written for


Shell to Sea campaigners occupying Shell drill rig in Srwaddacon Bay

Just before 7am this morning, Shell to Sea campaigners swam out to one of Shell's drilling platforms in the Srwaddacon Bay Special Area of Conservation (SAC) in Erris. Two people climbed up one of the drills and have occupied it since as part of the ongoing resistance to the imposition of an experimental gas pipeline on the community around Rossport.

According to a Shell to Sea Spokesperson "For the first hour a team of five swimmers and two kayakers remained in the water underneath the platform in support of the two climbers. Around 8am IRMS security violently removed several campaigners, dragging them through the water by their life jackets. There are currently 13 'safety' and security boats in the water. A Garda boat arrived at about 9am and arrested two kayakers who were paddling around the platform. They are currently being held at Belmullet Garda station.

Just after 9am, a second drill on the same platform began drilling, despite the fact that two protesters are virtually up inside the platform at the top of the large drill. This is a major violation of health and safety to continue working while people are not only underneath the platform but attached to it, and the noise would be deafening. Two complaints were made to the Health and Safety Authority, and work temporarily stopped but has now started again."

Róisín Ní Fhaolain, a member of the Rossport Solidarity Camp declaired that “We've stopped the work this morning to protect this beautiful Special Area of Conservation. It is shocking that work is continuing while people are up inside that platform, that is totally illegal and against all health and safety regulations.”

The An Bord Pleanala hearing into Shell's experimental gas pipeline has been extended to allow more evidence to be heard.  On Friday Attracta Ui Bhroin for An Taisce said that due to the technical nature of borehole data Shell have submitted to the enquiry either the hearing must be adjourned or new information by Shell must be disallowed.


Written for WSM site







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