the solidarity camp is back...
Last weekend Rossport Solidarity Camp was re-opened. The origin of the camp was the Solidarity Gathering on the first weekend in June last year. This happened days after Shell were due to start work at Glengad, a beach across the estuary from Rossport, work which has yet to commence. This gathering also saw the inauguration of the national wing of Shell to Sea.
The background to these events was attempts to enter farmlands to build the Rossport part of the pipeline, and injunctions from the High Court. (There had been a NUI Galway Ecology Society visit to the area in February). The camp began as Rossport residents prevented Shell’s trucks from entering their village with a ‘park in’. Another notable event at that time, the middle of June, was a visit to the area by some shareholders, who got a bit of a shock.
With the imprisonment of Willie Corduff, Brendan Philbin, Vincent McGrath, Philip McGrath and Micheal O‘Seighin, on the 29th of June, mass picketing began on all active Shell sites in Erris, see Rossport Resistance Steps Up a Gear, Report from Rossport, Photo Report from Rossport, A Few Days of Struggle in North West Mayo.
At this time the camp got up and running, in Rossport, and with an off-shoot in Glengad, and occasional other off-shoots in various parts of the proposed pipeline route. Campers picketed the Rossport compound, which was successfully closed down, and the camp also served as a sort of info-point to where people could travel and learn about what is happening. Good reports from the camp last summer are here and here.
The camp organised the Tenth Grassroots Gathering at the end of August, as well as the solidarity week.
Read on for a full report with photos on the re-opening on the camp:
Last year the camp functioned in a very ad hoc manner, as it was almost spontaneous in its lack of pre-planning, sustained equipment wise in a very haphazard manner, with a mix of donations from sympathisers, and some campers’ personal property.
Publicity-wise there was not much beyond indymedia postings, and even those have often been sparse, or rushed.
This year we are aiming at very different camp, having had forewarning!
In publicity terms we went on two speaking tours of Britain, in October and in February, have spoken at many public meetings in Ireland, most recently in Cork, and the re-opening of the camp was preceded by solidarity actions. Also many more posters and leaflets will soon be available, and the website is being spruced up. In addition we now have a media team, and have been covered by the major papers and the RTE news.
In logistics terms we are in the process of acquiring another, larger, marquee, and are sorting out electricity and water supply. At the moment, after a few days, the camp has more structures than it had by the end of September last year.
Thirty people travelled to Rossport Co. Mayo this weekend to help campers and locals in the re-erection of Rossport Solidarity Camp. Supporters and campaigners came from all over Ireland as well as New Zealand, Sweden, Holland and England for the reopening of the camp, which will act as a physical and symbolic block to Shell’ s pipeline and inland gas refinery due for construction last year, and so far halted due to a campaign of non-violent direct action.
Last summer the camp was built in Rossport on the proposed route of the pipeline but this year it is situated on the landfall site of the pipeline at a place called Glengad. The camp is located on a stretch of beach surrounded by machairs overlooking the currently beautiful Broadhaven Bay. Due to the machairs being a sensitive ecosystem we are taking steps to ensure the camp will not have a negative effect on them. The ethos of the camp is to have as low an impact as possible on this rare ecosystem. More reports will follow on the building of the camp and the environmentally friendly and sustainable building and living methods we are using.
This weekend’s work saw the camp marquee being pitched among the dunes and several benders being constructed. A grey water system, fire pits and composting facilities were also built and pathways were cordoned off through the dunes to prevent their disturbance. Willie Corduff helped to move materials to the campsite using his tractor and trailer and several other locals including Terence Conway, Ray Corduff and Sean Harrington to name a few joined with campers in the construction. Delicious vegan food was prepared by the Bitchin’ Kitchen radical cookin’ collective.
Much of the equipment and material used to build the camp was donated and collected by various groups and individuals including Cork Shell to Sea and Greenpeace. The camp is being built to facilitate up to fifty people and it is hoped that people from all over Ireland and further afield will visit, help in whatever way they can, find out more and show their solidarity with the people of Erris.
Tonight’s local Shell to Sea meeting in Glenamoy concluded with local campaigners expressing their support and a big ‘welcome back’ to the Rossport Solidarity Camp’. It was pointed out by a number of people that Rossport Solidarity Camp and the local Shell to Sea campaign are one. We look forward to another summer of cooperative resistance against the state and their mates in big business.
Construction of the camp is ongoing. Everyone regardless of experience is welcome to come and lend a hand in whatever way they can.
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keep her lit!
the camp is here in mayo .very nice .
special place , if the local people do not want this gas pipe here , why should they have to have it?simple they shouldnt. so come visit ,enjoy it , support it. shell to sea, to hell , they are already there.
so i visited for the opening of the camp , first time to this part of ireland , very nice,i would have liked to stay longer , the purpose of this article is realy to send the photos ,
.it was a nice place to be the camp, i hope to go back .
VISIT THE CAMP.
So all the best to all of you .
this is the land
the cow is on the beach
floor going in
Well done all. Skies look blue but weather is cold. Hope to get up there soon. Love, warmth y solidoridad. Beanacht de libh. M.
Well done to everybody involved. I'll have to get myself up there soon.
We're hoping to organise a bus up to the camp at the end of next week. Full details have yet to be finalised, but if anyone is interested please send us a mail to the gmail address, and we'll let you know the story as soon as possible.
Well done people
Can't wait to get back there, good stuff,
see yas next week!!!
Glengad was today turned into a even more beautiful place today with a heavy snow covering.
From tomorrow onwards we are receiving a lot more people, with a contingent from Wales coming over tomorrow, and American and British visitors next week.
Going to the camp
Rossport House, now derelict abode of the last people who tried to run the place. Shell take note.
Building box for solar panels
Dooncarton mountain in the snow
the camp under snow
view of the camp from the beach
Alan in the marque
making the bitchin' kitchin in the marque
Terry and Bob construct a toilet
the sun sets over Dooncarton
Photos from Friday March 3rd
Part of the Grey Water System which filters waste water so it can be put into the soil without causing harm
Aron and Andy install the invertor and batteries for the solar panels.
Do not confuse the Solidarity Camp with one of Ireland's many summer festivals. This is a serious place with a serious objective. It can also be a fun place, a place to have the craic, meet your mates and swap stories, and a lovely place to hang out, but don't forget, there is work to be done. The camp was not beamed in from outer space one night but has evolved ( and is still evolving) as the consequence of a lot of hard graft by a dedicated few. If you plan to visit, I'm sure you will be most welcome, even if you only want to drink tea and talk about past campaigns ( yawn). But if you really want to help, come prepared. Wear the right clothes for outdoor work and have good footwear for protection against the VERY muddy walk down to the camp. Waterproofs are essential; this is Ireland remember, whatever about the beautiful pics of the camp in the snow! It does rain! On the Mayo coast, the rain is often of the horizontal variety.
Aim to be as self sufficient as possible. If the camp has to physically support or look after you during your visit, that means less resources to devote to developing the camp infrastructure. Ask yourself are you a 'dependent,' or a 'contributor'? If the former, perhaps you should ask the camp how many 'dependents' they are able to support before all work grinds to a halt. When I'm in my dotage, I hope I will still be able to visit protest camps like the one in North Mayo and bore the young ones with tales from my youth. But I also hope that I might still be able to be able to do something more useful than simply take up space.
construction work at the camp is still ongoing. at the moment our main building project is a communal area/ sitting room. were building it out of timber and ply and hopefully with a nice truck tarp roof if we can find one (anyone?). we got the idea for this type of structure at a protest camp in england called camp bling at south end on sea.
we are building a communal living room to left of marquee
building the joists to support the floor
mid construction chat
sharing the varnishing job
Great Pics of the solidarity camp which continues to go from strength to strenghth. Should get plenty of visitors and supporters staying in beautifull Rossport over the summer. The Sun-sets alone are worth the visit!!
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