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Annual Rossport Gathering

category mayo | rights, freedoms and repression | news report author Wednesday June 09, 2010 13:27author by Bobajob - SHELLTOSEA Report this post to the editors

Hundreds gather to support Shell to Sea campaign

Supporters from around the world joined in the annual gathering over the past weekend at the Rossport Solidarity Camp at Broadhaven Bay, County Mayo in support of the Shell to Sea campaign. A large contingent of cyclists travelled from Britain via Merthyr Tydfil in Wales where another campaign is focussed to stop an ugly open-cast coal mine which is destroying the environment, polluting air and water and endangering the community.
A view across the camp towards Rossport
A view across the camp towards Rossport

The gathering at Rossport has been held every year since the jailing of the Rossport 5 in 2005 - local residents who refused, for reasons of health, safety and clean environment, to allow Shell / Statoil to lay an experimental high-pressure raw gas pipeline through their properties. The Irish government had, in an unprecedented move, provided the multi-nationals with compulsory purchase orders. The five were given indefinite prison sentences but were released after 3 months following massive public outcry. A later hearing vindicated them when the original pipeline route was rejected because of dangerous proximity to dwellings.

A new route is now being put forward, but is still considered unacceptable by Shell to Sea who believe that the only safe way to bring the gas ashore is by refining it at sea and bringing it in at low pressure. The dangers have been well highlighted by disasters worldwide including the Piper Alpha explosion, the pipeline explosion at Carlsbad, New Mexico (August 2000 when a family of 12 living over 200 metres away were completely wiped out), the outrageous death and destruction in Nigeria and now the BP oil disaster.

The Merthyr to Mayo cycle rally called at Castlerea prison to support fisherman Pat O'Donnell and fellow Shell to Sea supporter Niall Harnett who are both now serving jail terms for obstructing police who had been brought in the ensure Shell employees were not hampered in their work - the Irish government takes care of big business without regard for the livelihoods of the local community and the health of their environment !

The whole project was pushed ahead without consulting the local people - the refinery, 9 km inland (selected because it was state-owned forestry land) now approaching completion and the seaward pipeline layed. But still no legally permitted nor locally agreed inland route ! And not likely to be ! Local campaigners have had their lives totally disrupted for more than 10 years now with this nonsense and are utterly committed to the point of putting their lives on the line, literally.

Related Link: http://www.shelltosea.com

Broadhaven Bay 'Special Area of Conservation'
Broadhaven Bay 'Special Area of Conservation'

author by Stevo - Galway S2Spublication date Wed Jun 09, 2010 15:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Slight quibble with the comment that the Solidarity Gathering happened since the jailing of the Rossport 5. The first gathering actually preceded the jailing. Several of the to-be Rossport 5 were present, this was actually about a month or so before the incident that made them into that group.
Niall Harnett asked in his phonecall to the camp last weekend that the work of Terry Dunne, who pretty much initiated the original gathering and thereby the Solidarity Camp be remembered for this. Terry had been going up to Rossport since at least the Good Friday Walk in 2005, then going around NUIG & presumably several other places continually telling people about the transportation of Peat from Bellinaboy which was causing a great deal of trouble.
Willie Corduff gave an impassioned speech from the truckbed stage that year that was very forgiving to those who'd accepted Shell money.
Mihail O'Sheighin gave a different talk about alternative sites for the refinery and the oddness of designation of terminology for the Rossport part of the pipeline. I think Vincent McGrath played music. & Ray Corduff lent us a field for the weekend.
17 days after the Rossport solidarity Gathering came the callout to phone numbers collected over the weekend that there was help needed with the truck vigil created by Vincent McGrath and joined by Willie Corduff. We spent several nights sitting in Willie's van watching that the truck wasn't moved. 12 days into the vigil the farmers from Rossport including Brid Mcgarry went over for a court hearing. I saw Philip sitting in the back of the car at 4am as i left the vigil shift, about 10hours later the word came through that the 5 men had been imprisoned for contempt of court. Later word came out that Brid wasn't imprisoned because it would be bad publicity to imprison a woman.
I was there at willie's van when the wives heard the news and later the whole of the Rossport road was filled with cars that came out to support the vigil. I think the builders and security at Bellinaboy walked off work that day too.
I've been trying to remember if the movement was named ShellToSea at the Solidarity camp weekend or in the wake of the imprisonment of the 5.
I'll put up some photos from this year ina while.

author by Stevo - Galway S2Spublication date Wed Jun 09, 2010 16:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors

4 photos taken by myself this weekend

arrival of bikes at Glengad. End of the tour for many
arrival of bikes at Glengad. End of the tour for many

bringing the noise, bike tour sound system hits the beach
bringing the noise, bike tour sound system hits the beach

come boatingt in sunny Glengad, one of the boating workshops
come boatingt in sunny Glengad, one of the boating workshops

bonfire Sunday night
bonfire Sunday night

author by Stevo - Galway S2Spublication date Wed Jun 09, 2010 18:06author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I took quite a few snaps this year. Can't believe I mistitled bike arrival above as Glengad when it was Bellinaboy.
still sorting through these.
Wanted to up the sandsculpture of Pat & NIall but this thing's claiming the file's too big & I don't know how to reduce it

sandcastle building they call it
sandcastle building they call it

willie gives talk on local campaign
willie gives talk on local campaign

This place used to seem isolated & lonely. Old path from camp in dunes becomes this year's campground
This place used to seem isolated & lonely. Old path from camp in dunes becomes this year's campground

Pat's trailer outside the McGuire's do
Pat's trailer outside the McGuire's do

good to see the sandmartins are still here,  just around the corner from the cliff shell destroyed
good to see the sandmartins are still here, just around the corner from the cliff shell destroyed

author by Aileenpublication date Thu Jun 10, 2010 19:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

(More photos at http://www.flickr.com/photos/aaocarroll/sets/7215762423...99308)

Strength in Community
Strength in Community

Welsh sound system near where the pipe makes landfall on the beach
Welsh sound system near where the pipe makes landfall on the beach

Workshop
Workshop

Meeting
Meeting

Radio Solidarity
Radio Solidarity

 
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