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Rossport 5 in Doolin & Clare Shell to Sea Protest.
rights, freedoms and repression |
Wednesday February 22, 2006 20:31 by Niall Harnett - Clare Shell to Sea / Rossport Solidarity Camp / Gluaiseacht
Two reports in one: Rossport Five Concert & Talk on Sat 11 Feb and Clare Shell to Sea protests Sat 18 Feb.
And what are kingdoms but fair thievish purchases? For what are thieves’ purchases but little kingdoms? For in thefts the hands of the underlings are directed by the commander, the confederacy of them is sworn together, and the pillage is shared by the law amongst them. And if those ragamuffins grow up to be able enough to keep forts, build habitations, possess cities, and conquer adjoining nations, then their government is no more called thievish, but graced with the eminent name of a kingdom, given and gotten, not because they have left their practices, but because now they may use them without danger of law.
Left to Right: Micheál, Vincent, Willie, Philip and Ray.
ROSSPORT FIVE IN CONCERT & TALK WITH LOCAL MUSICIANS & COMMUNITY OF DOOLIN, CO CLARE.
Saturday 11th feb saw the arrival of Willie & Mary Corduff, Philip Mc Grath, Vincent & Maureen McGrath and Micheál & Caitlín Ó Seighin in Doolin. Unfortunately Brendan Philbin was occupied with legal matters and couldn't make it. But we were privileged to also enjoy the company of local campaigners Mary Horan (Shell to Sea HQ Quartermaster, the trailer, Bellanaboy), Terence Conway the Redoubtable and Ray & Imy Corduff (Ray of Ray's field and no mean banjo player). Special thanks to Master of Ceremonies Mattie Shannon who accommodated the Rossport crew at his Rainbow's End B&B and to Maeve Fitzgerald of Churchfield B&B for her hospitality also. Special thanks also to our musicians in Doolin who are ever relied on for events such as this and never fail to give generously of themselves and their music: Tara Connaghan, Orla Mc Govern, Peadar Reilly, Danny Burke, Kevin Griffin, Yvonne Casey, Terry Bingham, Shay & Ger, Danny, Adrian O'Connor, Sonja O'Brien and dancers Tess McGovern and Gussie McMahon.
The night started with a concert of local & Rossport musicians which included Micheál on whistle and piano, Vincent on accordion and Ray on banjo. After a break for refreshments Micheál talked about the ongoing campaign (summary below) and Niall spoke about the reopening of the Rossport Solidarity Camp. After the talk we had more music before heading for the pub for pints, caint agus more ceol into the night. After a lazy breakfast at Mattie's the lads were met by the Clare People newspaper for a photo article and Vincent was interviewed on Clare fm's Morning Focus programme first thing on Monday morning. Vincent also invited Andrew St Ledger of Clare based NGO, The Woodland League to help with a submission for consideration at an upcoming Erris 'Local Sustainable Development Plan' public meeting.
Summary of Micheál's talk.
Micheál stressed the point that they were just ordinary people forced into a reluctant limelight to make a stand on a safety issue. They are not prepared to jeopardise their community’s future nor future generations.
He made the point that ‘Officialdom’ have no sense of community. Government politicians and Shell are detached from comprehending what a community is.
“We are lucky to have a community, that’s what this is all about, our protection and having to protect ourselves.”
Though Shell & the State have constantly chopped and changed their positions of argument, The Shell to Sea argument/position has remained constant. The Rossport Five’s integrity has never been questioned. No-one has ever doubted that they are telling the truth. They’ve never been accused of telling lies or asked whether or not they were telling the truth. This begs the question of the ‘learned men’ and ‘judges’, What’s wrong with them that they don’t recognise the truth.
Micheál making a distinction between justice and the law, making the point that the courts are equipped to administer law but not equipped to administer justice. Common law does not serve the common man. The judgements just don’t make sense
This crisis has galvanised the community, with the effect of revitalising a survival instinct. A crisis brought them together but a plan for the future will keep them together, realising that the State cannot be relied upon to provide a future for them. They must carve out this future for themselves, reminding other communities that this is the only way forward.
Niall spoke briefly after Micheál, inviting people to come and be a part of the Rossport Solidarity Camp and spoke about the camp's iminent reopening, it's function and it's role within the Shell to sea campaign. He also invited people to support a protest picket at a Shell Station in Ennis the following Saturday.
CLARE SHELL TO SEA PROTEST - SHELL STATION, BERTIE & OGRA FIANNA FAIL CONFERENCE
We heard during the week that Bertie Ahern would be addressing the Ogra Fianna Fail conference in Ennis at 5pm on Sat 18th. We started our protest with a picket at the Shell Service Staion on the Limerick Road Ennis at about 1pm. We had plenty of banners (sorry no pics) an gave out 'Rossport Solidarity Camp' flyers to customers and passing motorists in the traffic jam. We asked people not to buy their fuel from Shell. Some did and some didn't. We talked with some who wanted to know about the campaign. The Clare People showed up for a shot and a brief summary in this weeks paper. For last weeks Clare People report on Rossport Five in Doolin click on link below.
At about 4pm we headed just a few yards down the road to the West County Hotel and the Ogra Fianna Fail Conference. There were a lot of other protesters there on many different issues including health care in Ennis, water quality, sewerage, drivers rights, US abuse of Shannon etc.
All there to greet Bertie who drove through a tunnel of banners and posters on both sides of the road before he arrived at the hotel. Clare Shell to Sea and the Peace Activists stuck around till about 7pm to see him off as he left.
Message for Bertie: Next time come out and speak to us will you please.