Several hundred people took part in "A Spectacle Of Defiance And Hope" in Dublin Friday night to protest the way the government have cut funding to vital community services. Janice Feighery a co-ordinator at an after school computer program for young people said “Community programmes are being devastated by the cuts. Our work with young people is strangled by lack of funds." The spectacle draws to a close the week of protests against the austerity budget.
The decade long struggle against the construction of an experimental raw gas pipeline by Shell as part of its Corrib gas project continued in the west of Ireland with further direct actions against the project and the opening of a public hearing by the planning authority on the latest phase of Shell's plan. Meanwhile the irish government continues to give away hundreds of billions of oil & gas reserves to corporations. These two reports published on the WSM site this week explain the latest developments.
Two articles on protests in Dublin to mark the 100th day of imprisonment of Erris fisherman Pat O'Donnell for his continued resistance to Shell's attempt to impose an experimental raw gas pipeline on the people of Kilcommon. The second article describes the occupation of the Department of Natural Resources that was part of this day of action
Around the time of the visit of Shell’s pipe-laying ship the Solitaire in June, it became clear that the Gardai had been told that they could do anything to remove Shell to Sea campaigners from the scene and they would be looked after. Rulings from the District Court, in particular the denial of bail to 7 campaigners charged with the most minor of public order offences, removed people with vital water skills from the area by interning them in Mountjoy and Castlerea prisons. Local fisherman Pat O’Donnell had one of his boats sunk from under him when four masked men boarded the boat in the middle of the night and held Pat and the other crew member at gunpoint while they sabotaged the boat, leading to its sinking. When Pat took to sea in another boat as the Solitaire arrived, he was arrested under the Public Order Act for loitering and once more sent to prison, leaving the way clear for the Solitaire.
This week as it was revealed in the Irish Times that 20 months after entering into a legal agreement with local fishermen Shell has still not submitted an application as required to the Environmental Protection Agency to review the emissions licence for the experimental gas pipeline it is imposing on the people of Erris. Yet this week 27 Shell to Sea campaigners are being prosecuted on behalf of Shell in the local courts and today one of them received three five month sentences.
Many of the 27 at a previous court appearance, in the front row Niall is far right, Pat is in the middle and Maura is on the far left
The week before last Erris fisherman Pat O'Donnell was jailed for seven months for his part in the communities ongoing resistance to Shell's attempt to impose an experimental gas pipeline on them. Across the country local Shell to Sea groups have been holding solidarity protests and other events for Pat. In Dublin this has included two protests and a public meeting in UCD (an audio recording of the meeting is at the bottom of this article). Meanwhile Shell have been forced to admit a temporary defeat in the face of local opposition and call off the construction they have planned for Glengad this year.
Over 50 Shell to Sea campaigners gathered at the Shell head quarters in Leeson street Dublin Tuesday evening to protest at the jailing of 52 year old Erris fisherman Pat O'Donnell for resisting Shell's experimental gas pipeline. Pat received a seven month sentence which has the added benefit for Shell of taking his boat off of Broadhaven Bay for the period they need to carry out major underwater construction work and repairs. Pat has twice previously been arrested and held without charge when Shell has needed to carry out work in the bay.
A leader of the Bolivian Confederation of Peasant Workers (CSUTCB) is in Ireland this weekend to visit the local people who continue to resist Shell's experimental gas pipeline in Rossport and to demand that the Irish government investigate the role of Shell's security company IRMS in the attempt to start a civil war in Bolivia. Meanwhile in the wake of the An Bord Planala decision Shell's dangerous experimental pipe has been exposed as just that and many people are starting to question the wisdom of giving the energy corporations 420 billion of oil and gas for next to nothing.
(Pic: An IRMS guard at the Shell compound in June)
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.
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.