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Report from Rossport
Friday July 01, 2005 14:12 by Rossport Solidarity People (from Cork, Louth, Galway & Mayo)
An Erris Diary
A report of events in Erris since last Tuesday 28th of June, & with a converstion with Maureen McGrath (Vincent McGrath's wife) and Christopher Philban (Brenden Philban's son).
Since Tuesday 21 June a constant vigil has been held on the side of the road leading to the Shell compound. A van and several cars were parked on the side of the narrow road, meaning that while normal traffic can pass the huge Shell lorries carrying heavy loads cannot because they are too wide. The van and cars have become a gathering point for people to meet and express solidarity
Local people demonstrated the presence of a septic tank contravening planning permission on the Shell/Roadbridge compound to Mayo Co. Council.
At around 2pm it we discovered that the five Rossport farmers had been jailed. Relatives and friends of the men were visibly upset. People gathered around listening to the reports on the radio. As the news that the men had been jailed spread people began to gather in Rossport to show solidarity with the families and community. Many locals and people from nearby communities came to show support, including many who had been initially in favor of shell’s project. By the evening a large crowd had gathered around the van, many keeping vigil into the night.
Some members of the community were worried that Shell would attempt to gain entry onto the land the next day, while the landowners were in prison.
The vigil on the road was maintained. A call was put out on local radio for people to gather in Rossport between 10am and 3pm.
A demonstration of families and local community and supporters was held (see below, Maureen and Christopher) at Rossport and Ballnaboy.
Mayo County Council gave a warning to Shell and Roadbridge relating to planning permission for their compound and their illegal septic tank, which had been exposed by locals and was in contravention of planning permission.
Conversation with Maureen McGrath and Christopher Philban,
E: So Maureen and Christopher could you tell us about what happened today (Thursday 30th June)?
M: About a hundred and fifty people gathered here (Rossport, at Shell/Roadbridge compound) this morning The press were present and interviews and a statement were given on behalf of all the families of the people imprisoned and that lasted for about half an hour.
C: We explained to the press the situation, we gave individual representations of what was going on and our feelings on things
M: After all this was over we were told to go to Ballnaboy compound, that there was a protest going on there at the same time the protest was going on in Dublin, and when we got up there we were shocked to see the amount of people that had gathered there already with banners and everything. It was a great feeling to have support for us.
T: How many people?
M: I think in the end, people kept coming all the time, I suppose we were there for about two hours until about four o’clock and people kept coming until then and I’d say there would have been about five hundred people there. Plus RTE and the workers form Bord na Mona employed by Shell on their compound in Bangor Erris dropped tools and joined us in the protest. We were very thankful for that. We finished off with a speech from Maura Harrington, which was class, and were meeting there again tomorrow at around 12.
C: I think the important thing today was an expression of solidarity from Erris and that its something that we the families involved didn’t expect, but its proven that what we hoped was there is there. And that the Bord na Mona workers were willing to face up to their employers and come and join with us is very important because it shows that people who are forced into being employed, they have to be employed, that they’re not willing to work with these people it really says alot.
M: The solidarity of the Erris people, as Maura said today, they have such pride in themselves, and it shows you don’t mess around with Erris people, you do you know what your going to get. Let that go out to Bertie Adhern and his friends, Fahy and McSharry.
photos to come pending techo stuff