Disruption to the felling of the Coillte woodland for Shell's planned onshore pipeline (along with the stopping of haulage trucks to the Aughoose compound), continued today as protestors intercepted a specialist 8-track tree felling machine between the Aughoose tunnelling compound and Leenamore forest.
A Barrett's truck transporting the machine was halted as it made the 1km journey at 7am this morning by a small band of merry protestors, one of whom quickly ascended the arm and settled into position as a lone Garda looked on. Several more Gardaí soon came to join her supported by a large number of IRMS staff who have been positioned along the road by the forest since yesterday.
As a wintery dawn broke over the beseiged bog the Gardaí “removal” team arrived along with their “transporter”, driven by Sgt Aidan Gill, who then proceeded to initiate Garda attacks on the gathering supporters, in the name of health and safety.
Following some hasty positioning of 'crash-mattresses' and blankets (!!) on and around the machine an attempt was made to remove the protestors, only for the Gardaí to discover that the protestor had D-locked her neck to the machine.
In an extraordinarily reckless move, the Gardaí then decided to use an angle grinder just millimeters away from the protestors' head, all to enable the continuation of Shell's work for the day.
However the delay of 3 & 1/2 hours to the tree felling had also thwarted all deliveries of stone and removals of peat at the Aughoose compound as the driver of the truck carrying the machine had been swerving so much, as to end up preventing the passage of any other trucks on the road.
After being taken down the protestor was arrested and charged and is due to appear in Belmullet court along with 4 other campaigners.
Later on in the evening another protest was called for outside Bellanaboy, however it seems the latest activity has resulted in a further increase in the amount of Gardaí loitering in the area. About 15 Gardaí were immediately on hand and so not too many trucks were stopped in the evening.
Rossport Solidarity Camp is calling for support in advance of this coming Friday the 13th of January. Friday is the first Day of Solidarity of the new year, when people from around Ireland are invited to join the protests for a day to show their support for the ongoing resistance to the Corrib Gas Project.