Almost two years after Shell smuggled their Tunnel Boring Machine out of Dublin port in the middle of the night, and then spent 3 days meeting resistance across the country before getting stuck in the bog, they removed it from Erris Monday night.
In a report received from Mayo local resident Micheal O Seighin described how "This morning after 1 A.M. Shell removed the tunnel boring machine in convoy. Some hours before that they notified McGrath's in the pub what was about to happen and told them there was no need to remove the traffic cones protecting the house as the road was wide enough.
Just before the convoy started out, an army of cops arrived at mcGrath's: pitched and kicked the cones everywhere: when Bridgie interfered to object that Shell had no problem with the cones they pushed her and dragged her, abused her and cursed at her. Then they surrounded the house and in general terrorised them."
The Irish Times had carried a photograph over the June bank holidays of Shell workers emerging from the far end of the tunnel at the Glengad compound, signalling the completion of the last link of the project they have been imposing on the community over the last ten years. Garda abuse of the local community has been routine over those years and is liable to continue into the future as they serve Shell's continued presence in the area.
It's unknown how soon (and indeed if) the refinery will go into production but its over a decade late and almost 3 billion euro over budget. Shell may yet impose their will on the community but it has literally taken billions of euro, the deployment of hundreds of Garda and even at points two Naval gunboats. Hundreds, indeed thousands of acts of resistance tell the story of the delay along with dozens of arrests, over a dozen campaigners jailed and hundreds injured.
All for what? It has become clear that its unlikely Shell will ever pay any tax on the gas the Irish state has handed over to them. The temporary construction and security jobs have now gone and millions of tonnes of CO2 will be added to the atmosphere. The community will exist under constant threat of a pipeline explosion and the likelihood that the release of pollutants will destroy the local water supply, touring, agriculture and fishing industries they depend on.