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dublin | environment | feature Wednesday November 08, 2006 14:09 by Shell to Sea dublinshelltosea at gmail dot com
Secuity breached by activists to deliver message to potential "investors"
Activists from Dublin Shell to Sea disrupted the "Exploring Atlantic Ireland" conference in the Burlington Hotel this morning as Minister for the giveaway of Natural Resources Noel Dempsey was on stage giving his speech.
Titled "Exploring Atlantic Ireland 2006", the two-day conference is highlighting the "exciting development opportunities" in Ireland's offshore gas. The minister was addressing 130 people from the oil and gas exploration industry, many from overseas. Despite a heavy presence of 30-40 Gardai as well as private security, the activists managed to gain access, with two getting into the main conference hall - and delivering a clear message that any development of Irish natural resources could only take place with the benefits of the project going to the Irish people, and with their consent.
Indymedia readers will be well aware that the terms of gas exploration licences mean that multinationals own all the gas they extract from Irish waters, paying no royalties and paying only a low rate of tax on whatever profits they declare many years after they sell the gas. However, defenders of Ireland's extraordinarily generous set-up argue that the exploration that results from such positive terms give Ireland "security of supply".The next step in the Shell to Sea Campaign is a International Day of Action against Shell on Friday November 10th
This argument was rendered void by a comment from conference chairman, Martin Brennan, who is Assistant Secretary at the Department of Marine and Natural Resources. "There are now three interconnectors between Ireland and the UK, so if you do hit a gush, there's plenty of market out there," he said. Clearly there is no requirement that companies supply the gas to the Irish market.
Several other activists were in the building at the same time in a well-executed manoeuvre to outwit the masses of security. The protesters were removed from the premises after a short time by the Gardai who took names and addresses but no arrests were made .
A camera was confiscated by Donnybrook Gardai but was soon returned when the Gardai realised it could not be held for evidence as the individual carrying it was not in breach of any trespass legislation.
On a busy day of action for Shell to Sea this first action was a great success and Mr Dempsey was left in no doubt of the determination of the campaign to continue seeking justice and safety or Rossport and a fair deal for the Irish people.
There are two more protests today-one at the Gresham at 1.15 (http://www.indymedia.ie/article/79466)
For more info on what is happening at the Burlington today, the people who are attending and the reason to be concerned and to voice protest see-http://www.indymedia.ie/article/79494