Shell’s attempts to begin laying a deepwater gas pipeline in Mayo, Ireland, have met heavy resistance from campaigners. In August this year, the Rossport Solidarity Camp was set up again to host local and international campaigners opposed to the pipeline. Activists in kayaks, rubber dinghies and on surfboards have repeatedly attempted to obstruct Shell’s ships and a Shell to Sea flotilla boarded Shell’s main vessel, the Solitaire, to deliver a message pledging resistance to the pipeline.
Meanwhile, the principal of the local primary school has begun a hunger strike outside the Shell compound in Glengad, which she says will continue until the Solitaire leaves or she dies. On 10th September, the Solitaire sustained damage and work has had to be suspended.
Shell have been attempting to illegally remove lobster pots in the path of the pipeline. Local fishermen, Pat and Jonathan O’Donnell, have been arrested attempting to rescue their equipment. Local fishermen are viewed by Shell as one of the final hurdles standing in the way of the success of their project and the company care in negotiations with the Erris Inshore Fishermen’s Association. Some fishermen have accepted compensation from Shell.
In July, the Department for the Environment granted permission for pipeline construction close to Glengad on the grounds that the construction was exempt from planning regulations due to a technicality and therefore did not need to apply for permission. The state has come out wholeheartedly in support of Shell, drafting in legions of Gardai to support Shell’s private security as well as deploying the Navy to support the Solitaire.
Solidarity actions have been carried out by groups supporting the Shell to Sea campaign across Ireland and beyond. For more info, see the Shell to Sea website: www.corribsos.com; Indymedia Ireland: www.indymedia.ie/mayo; and the Rossport Solidarity Camp website: www.rossportsolidaritycamp.110mb.com.