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The Rossport Solidarity Camp.
Monday August 08, 2005 16:27 by Niall Harnett - Rossport Solidarity Camp / Shell to Sea / Gluaiseacht info at shelltosea dot com
Supporting the Shell to Sea campaign and the community of Rossport.
The Rossport Solidarity Camp was set up to help the community of Rossport in their fight against Shell and the Irish Government. The camp functions as part of the Shell to Sea Campaign and is situated on the land of prisoner Philip McGrath at the invitation of his wife Maureen.
Rossport Solidarity Week of Action, Mon 22 - Sun 28 Aug, ending in...
... Grassroots Gathering, Rossport Sat 27 - Sun 28 Aug.
Theme: Local Community Struggles/Campaigns
Free camping and food available.
Protecting the land.
We're here to protect the land from Shell, to picket the compound in Rossport and to offer practical help to the families of the Rossport 5.
The campsite is positioned on Philip McGrath's land and directly on the proposed pipeline route, effectively blocking any work Shell would like to do there. The Shell compound in Rossport, where they store machinery and equipment to do this work is picketed from 7am -7pm to ensure no work is carried out there. We communicate with the picket at the Bellanaboy Refinery Site in case we're needed up there or vice-versa. We help the families with practical work like bringing in turf, gardening etc.
We also have a camp at Glengad beach across the estuary from Rossport where the pipeline wants to hit landfall from sea. We keep an eye on the compound over there, to alert others if any work is going on and to help with pickets there too. Glengad beach is beautiful and quiet in an unspoilt and remote special area of conservation. There is a camp kitchen there too with food and burners in a big Icelandic tent. Compost toilet built there too. Locals supporting with access, food and water.
People have been coming from all over the country to visit and to stay, to find out more about what's going on and to offer help with camp maintenance, pickets and campaign support.
Food and turf donations are flooding in, we cook and eat together and every night after dinner we discuss plans for the next day and the future. We meet regularly with the families of the Rossport 5 to discuss issues arising etc.
We have a big marquee for cooking and sleeping, other storage and meeting tents, water on site, compost toilet, compost heap and we recycle our waste. Showers and laundry are being offered by locals. Camp being improved constantly.
The initiative for setting up the camp came after a gathering in Rossport over the June bank holiday weekend when about 200 people came to a similar camp built in Ray Corduff's field, for a weekend of information workshops, tours of the area and the pipeline route, talks with the landowners (who have since become The Rossport 5), and a long talk by retired schoolteacher Micheál Ó'Seighin, now prisoner, about the local history and the impact of the Corrib Gas Project on the area. Sr Majella McCarron, friend to Ken Saro-Wiwa, Ogoni, Nigeria spoke about Shell's record of murder and environmental destruction in Nigeria.
We forged very quick friendships with Philip McGrath, Willie Corduff, Brendan Philbin, Vincent Mc Grath and Micheál O'Seighin that weekend and we offered to help them in their fight.
The weekend concluded with a meeting between the landowners, the local campaigners and others who had come from around the country who committed that day to helping with the campaign. We discussed ways to broaden the campaign nationally, some offered to get busy working in their own areas, towns and cities and some offered to come back to Rossport to help on the ground there.
The night before the men went to prison, Philip McGrath put out a call inviting those who had offered to return to Rossport to do just that. The camp was set up in response to Philip's call.
From Monday 22nd - Sunday 28th August we plan to host a Solidarity Week of Action at the camp and the local community centre and all are invited to come for...
... Volunteering Work, Protests, Blockades, Boycotts, Films, Talks, Sustainable Living Workshops and Demonstrations, Irish language Classes, Local History, Heritage Walks, Social night, Competition for best campaign ballad/poem... more info to follow, keep an eye on 'events' and 'newswire'.
Solidarity week of action ends with Grassroots Gathering in Rossport that weekend, the theme of which is 'LOCAL COMMUNITY STRUGGLES/CAMPAIGNS'.
Come to Rossport then or any time, all welcome, volunteers needed.
Camp contacts: Tracey 087 6543425, Bob 0863201612 or Michael 086 3588890.
The Rossport Solidarity Camp is a working camp and we have strict guidelines for anyone who wants to stay.
This is a serious political action that involves hard work and discipline.
Please come prepared to work as there is lots of different valued work to do for people of all ages/abilities/skills.
No Alcohol/No Drugs.
Police are not allowed into the camp without a warrant.
We are committed to Non-Violent Direct Action.
The camp functions on the basis of non-hierarchical consensus based decision making.
Accountability – there are no individualist actions – every action is checked through a collective process of decision-making at daily meetings.
Sexual arassment will not be tolerated.
Waste is recycled and composted
No swimming in the estuary, too dangerous. Swim at Glengad.
No media allowed on the campsite and nobody at the camp speaks on behalf of the camp.
DEALING WITH THE PRESS:
PRESS STATEMENT FROM ROSSPORT SOLIDARITY CAMP.
The Rossport Solidarity Camp functions as part of the Shell to Sea campaign and to support the community of Rossport and the 6 families, including the families of the Rossport 5 in their fight against Shell and the Irish Government.
We are here at the invitation of Philip Mc Grath, Willie Corduff, Micheál O Seighin, Vincent Mc Grath and Brendan Philbin. We intend to stay.
The onshore refinery will not be built at Bellanaboy, the proposed pipeline will not go ahead, the Rossport 5 will be vindicated and the overall deal will be renegotiated in favour of the Irish people.
We wish media attention not to focus on the camp but on the issue itself, and so we as a group have decided that there will be no media access to the camp as this story is not about us, but about the attempted bullying and intimidation of a small community by a foreign private company, facilitated by the Irish Government.
If you would like more information about the Shell to Sea campaign or the Rossport 5 or the camp please speak to Bríd Ní Sheighin, Rossport, daughter of prisoner Micheál Ó Seighin at 097 88806 and see www.shelltosea.com.
Camp gets the thumbs up from Duncan.
Poll a' Thomais behind the marquee.