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Report on Rossport Art Weekend
On Friday the 11th July, people started gathering for the art weekend in which murals and new campaign banner and signs were prepared. Straight away work on the house with the mural “The struggle goes on” was started along with the sign on the roof which reads “Strength in Community”.
Saturday wasn’t suitable for outside work so after a fair while designing what the signs should say, work commenced at a shed which we were kindly given the use of for the weekend.
The various signs included one quoting Kevin Moore, the first An Bord Pleanala Inspector who looked into the siting of the Refinery at Bellanaboy. In 2003, he labeled the proposed location as “the wrong site”.
His quote in full was: "From a strategic planning perspective, this is the wrong site; from the perspective of Government policy which seeks to foster balanced regional development, this is the wrong site; from the perspective of minimising environmental impact, this is the wrong site; and consequently, from the perspective of sustainable development, this is the wrong site"
The next sign was a quote from Michael D Higgins which he made in relation to the way that the refinery and the Corrib Gas project proceeded through the planning system.
“The politicians involved contaminated the process” “Agencies of the State got involved on the side of the developer, rather than on the side of the community”. “… it was scandalous that we proceeded as we did” “In this case, it seems that planning is not for big people”.
These quotes were taken from a speech on the Planning and Development (Amendment) Bill 2009.
It has to be said that while the quote is one of the strongest that any political representiative has made on Corrib, many feel that Michael D Higgins should have done more on Corrib. In many instances he challenged side issue of the controversy (such as Shell netting killing sand martins on Glengad beach and Gardaí going working for IRMS) but has largely shied away from challenging Shell or the State on the main issues relating to Corrib.
The next sign was from quote from Garda RL83 made outside Shell’s Aughoose compound on the 10th August 2011. The Garda said on camera “You are entitled to be a citizen but not here” after the camera person was trying to find out the identity of an IRMS security supervisor who had just assaulted a campaigner on the public road. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMrgkYk74xk
To me this sums up so much of the issues with Corrib, both at an individual Garda level (how could a Garda be so corrupted to say that) and on bigger political level (The state using this area as a testing ground for dangerous unwanted project).
A few years ago, Western People editor James Laffey wrote an article entitled “Let's see if Bellanaboy rules apply in Dalkey”, it clear that they never would. http://www.shelltosea.com/content/let%E2%80%99s-see-if-...alkey
This kind of class divide or racism in the planning oil & gas or chemical complexes can be seen all over the world ( e.g http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2014/apr/...pment). Where it is seen as acceptable place these polluting industries in the poorest areas of a country regardless of the inhabitats opinions to not have their areas endangered and polluted.
Another sign that was created over the art weekend was a replacement for the “Murdered by Shell” sign that sits across from the main gate at Bellanaboy refinery but which was beginning to look shabby. There are 9 crosses there, to remember the Ogoni campaigners that were hung due to their opposition to Shell. The new sign reads “Executed on behalf of Shell – but never forgottern”.
Finally a banner was created is support of Margaretta D’Arcy who at the time was being held in Limerick prison due to her opposition of the US military use of Shannon. The banner read “Free Margaretta D’Arcy – Síocháin ó Iorras”, which echos Tom Philbin’s (RIP) great poster from a number of years ago “The world wants peace – A message from Erris”.
Overall it was a lovely, inspiring weekend. Thanks to all who made it happen. If anyone has any more ideas for murals or signs that can be done for the future, or interest in organising future weekends then email email@example.com