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Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) update - you couldnt make it up...
Tuesday July 31, 2012 23:48 by really tired camper - Rossport Solidarity Camp rossportsolidaritycamp at gmail dot com 085 114 117 0
Right, a quick update from camp. The Tunnel Boring Machine is still stuck. Shell's contractors Roadbridge have been trying several different methods, but none working. Currently, it is believed the plan is to build up the road so local residents can get past, then use the main road to bring in cranes that can lift the truck in sections. However, there is resistance in the air...
Following on from previous stories...
Initially the Gardai closed off the entire road, making local residents and tourists sit in their cars without information - reaching us many tales of outright lies being told to people by Gardai who refuse to acknowledge it was anything to do with Shell. The people of Erris are not stupid.
The vast Gardai numbers which had been escorting the TBM vanished entirely from the area, presumably utterly exhausted from a whole night of being given the run around. They left four of their number to try and manage the traffic, which was by the afternoon slow and backed up, mostly as lorries from Lennon and Barretts quarries had started turning up with stone for the road building. Locals residents, already furious at the disruption and gardai rudeness towards them, came out of their houses and stopped the trucks, saying the TBM was simply not wanted.
The four Gardai were not up to the job, and mostly did what Roadbridge told them to - so when Roadbridge's foreman demanded the lorries come through side by side, gridlock ensued. Residents had to sort the Gardai's mess, redirecting traffic and lorries to clear the blockage.
More and more people started coming as radio and word of mouth carried the story, with people coming from across Mayo to stand in solidarity with friends and family. Doors were opened by the people of Glenamoy to those who came to stand in the rain against Shell.
Meanwhile, Mayo county council is bending over backwards to help Shell clear up their mess - all those grants seem to be coming useful after all. County manager Peter Hynes is not going to hold Shell responsible, so yet again the people are picking up Shell's bill. However, Shell did have to eat humble pie as the story spread, with the head of Shell Ireland having to issue an apology, or rather regretting the inconvenience. Not as much as the residents do.
Shell's security IRMS are now controlling a public road and deciding where residents can walk. This was challenged leading to some people being put in the ditch. Of course the Gardai stood in line with IRMS - really was impossible to tell them apart, but residents made it very clear that the road did not belong to Shell or its lackeys.
As ever, with these things, it is great to be in the midst of such community spirit and resistance.
It appears that Roadbridge are going to resume work after midnight, with the aim of shifting the listing truck tomorrow and taking it to Bellinaboy refinery (a change from going direct to the Aghoos compound), until more work can be done to strenghten the roads. We think the mighty Irish bog may be a bit tricker than that...
Camp is taking a rest - its been a long 36 hours for many people, though some are going to maintain a presence at the site of the fiasco. Other good news is that the two people arrested for the second lock-on have been released without charge. The first two are up in court in Ballina tomorrow.
One twitter captured it: http://pic.twitter.com/55lYSNpB
For images see http://www.shelltosea.com/content/pictures-tunnelling-m...namoy