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Shell to Sea 'All the facts' leaflet published

A couple of weeks ago Dublin Shell to Sea finished work on the 'All the Facts' leaflet some 120,000 of which are now being printed.  The basic idea to to try and get mass awareness of the facts of this struggle and in particular the 'Great Oil & Gas Give-away.' This is what Shell to Sea are calling the deal that has been given to Shell and other corporations under which they will pay almost no tax and no royalties on the vast wealth in gas and oil that lies in Irish waters and that they have been given by the Irish state.

The Shell to Sea campaign so far

The campaign against Shell’s inland refinery and high-pressure pipeline near Rossport in Co Mayo has been long and extraordinary, inspiring communities everywhere. Local residents began their campaign in 2000, adopting the name Shell to Sea in early 2005. Tactics have ranged from High Court actions, planning objections and lobbying politicians to grassroots campaigning and civil disobedience.

Why is Shell’s experimental pipeline in Mayo so dangerous?

When the inland gas refinery near Rossport was proposed in the late 1990s, many local people welcomed the project. But when they did some research, they quickly became extremely concerned. They discovered this was an experimental project; nothing like it had been tried anywhere in the world.

Ireland’s offshore oil & gas worth at least €420,000,000,000

Royal Dutch Shell, Statoil, Exxon Mobil and other global corporations will be taking billions of euro out of the country in the next couple of decades. In other countries they would have to give the majority of this money to the State, but not in Ireland. In 1987, then Minister Ray Burke, later jailed for corruption, abolished the State’s 50% share and all royalties.

Three wards in Crumlin children’s hospital were closed recently because of a €9.6 million deficit. The value of our offshore fields is 43,750 times the cost of keeping those wards open. It is 300 times the money that will be raised from the public sector ‘pensions levy’.

Shell's prosecutions failing in Belmullet

In order to break the resistance of the inhabitants of Erris to the Shell experimental gas pipeline dozens of people are now being prosecuted. Belmullet District Court is in the second day of a special 3 day session to carry out Shell's prosecutions. But things are not going Shell's way, of the 16 people being prosecuted in yesterdays session only one prosecution resulted in a fine.

Picketing the Green Party conference

The Green Party has been the junior partner in governement here in Ireland for the last couple of years.  Previously they had supported the struggle against the Shell project in Erris but once in power one of their ministers, Eamonn Ryan, has been in charge of imposing it!  At the weekend they had a special conference in Dublin to decide how they were voting on Lisbon 2 and Dublin Shell to Sea turned up to picket it and highlight the great oil and gas giveaway.

Multimedia documenting of the struggle against the Solitaire

Solitaire on the horizon in Broadhaven bayAs we wind down after the struggle against Shell's pipeline ship the Solitaire I'm using this blog post to bring together the bits of audio and video I recorded during that struggle and which have already been published as comments to articles on  In the next days I'm also going to trawl through my old web site and transfer over reports I wrote on the Shell to Sea struggle from a couple of years back to this site which will give a pretty complete archive of what I've produced. Shell got the pipeline into the bay but the next cycle of struggle will be the toughest for them as they try and run it through Rossport itself to link up to the refinery.

A weekend in Erris at the national Shell to Sea meeting - In the aftermath of the Solitaire

Irish Navy gunship in the BayI arrived in occupied Erris on Friday evening having travelled down to take part in a national meeting of Shell to Sea groups. It had been a busy week for the campaign as the state had reacted to the ongoing resistance to Shell in Erris by seizing fishing boats, sending 7 people to jail without trial and banning two more from Co. Mayo. Not only had hundreds of state forces including the police, navy, air force and possibly the army been deployed to suppress protest in Erris but those of us doing solidarity work elsewhere had found from time to time that we were being followed by the secret police.

Pic: Irish Navy gunship in the Bay

The Shadow over Erris: Shell, IRMS and Bolivia - Sometimes monsters do exist

In any country with a half way critical media, the last few months would have been disastrous for Shell. In Shell’s imposition of aMichael Dwyer posing with pistols in Bolivian experimental gas pipeline on the people of Erris it emerges that Michael Dwyer, one of the security guards on this project, was part of an attempt to trigger a civil war in Bolivia. Soon after that it became clear that at least three others who had worked as security guards at the Shell compound had travelled to Bolivia with Dwyer and were wanted there for questioning. Some, it emerged, had links to fascist organizations in Eastern Europe.

Pic: Michael Dwyer posing with pistols in Bolivia

Erris explodes, distraction, fear, exhaustion and the circles of life

The view of the bay from the camp at sunsetAs you may have noticed it has been a full month since I last blogged, the largest gap I think in some while. There are multiple reasons for this but chief amongst them has been the enormous amount of energy that I have put into writing about the struggle against Shell in Erris, I'll be reposting some of the material I have written and recorded to this archive over the next few days.


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