Plans to re-designate Broadhaven Bay as a site of Special Protection Area an insult
Three actions in as many days at the Aghoos site in Mayo as protests against Shell continue unabated.
On Monday morning fifteen people from Rossport Solidarity Camp blockaded and then occupied a tractor that was leaving the site at compound. For the last week Shell and their main subcontractor Roadbridge have been changing the site around as they get ready for the next stage of work. Three people were down at the camp caravan monitoring work when they spotted the tractor leaving. A police van was already in attendance but that proved no deterrent. Immediately they lay down in the road stopping the tractor from moving.
Having spotted their actions straight away, people flew down from the camp, one still carrying their plate of food and formed a sit-down line across the road. Others clambered up onto the tractor cab and yet others onto the long, flatbed trailer. Police and security stood by doing nothing. After a while there people moved en masse to the trailer and enjoyed hanging out in the sun. A short drumming workshop was held using the trailer body, while others did a tai chi workhop.
One hour later more police turned up and still did nothing. Work on site stopped. Two hours later, the public order team finally turned up with their tools for removing us. Did their faces fell when everyone simply dismounted from the trailer and walked back up to camp, job well done.
Con Coughlan, one of the protestors, said, “This is to show Shell, Roadbridge and all the other companies profiting from this pillaging of Irish resources, that resistance will come every step of the way. It was the first time I have done an action like this, but it will not be the last.”
Tuesday and Wednesday mornings saw similar actions happen, though for shorter shorter lengths of time. These actions followed on from a direct action training weekend which had taken place at the camp. Watch out for alerts for when the next stage of work begins at the site.
Currently, the existing compound is being cleared as Shell gets ready for clearing the site, installing fences and preparing for the arrival of the tunnel boring machine. This will mean thousands of tonnes of bog and the ecosystems it support will be torn up and removed so Shell can put in their tunnel boring machine. All for the controversial pipeline that is intended to carry high pressure gas through Broadhaven Bay and which the protestors and local fear will do immense damage to the area.
It is hoped that the actions will highlight the complete hypocrisy of Shell and the Irish Government's complicity in allowing the unwanted project to be pushed ahead. On the 17th June letters were received in the local area giving Notice of Intention to re-designate Broadhaven as a Special Protection Area. The letters, from the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, state of the area:
“that is an important habitat area for wild birds”
As Kay Mallon from the camp pointed out, “This designation is happening because, as the Department says, the Irish coast line provides safe breeding and wintering grounds for large number of seabirds. This should have priority over Shell's attempts to pillage. When all around the world Shell has demonstrated only disregard for the environment, it is clear the same is happening here and the Irish government bending over backwards to help them makes a mockery of themselves and treats the people who live around Broadhaven Bay with contempt.”
Rossport Solidarity Camp