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Personal account of Day of Support in Mayo
rights, freedoms and repression |
Saturday February 17, 2007 15:01 by unmasked eyes and ears
To date residents and supporters of the Shell To Sea campaign have been staging an ongoing picket outside the Shell gas refinery gates in Ballinaboy. Numbers on average at these chilly weekday morning vigils vary between 40 to 60 people. The picket is a reminder both to the government and the petrochemical multinational that local residents are against the construction of the refinery and the laying of gas pipes in their area.
A national day of support was called, inviting people who empathise with this campaign to come up to Mayo on Friday 16th February 2007.This is what one person saw:
Announcement of National Demonstration ·
Breaking News of the Morning's Events (incl. Audio Reports) · Another Report of the Occupation ·
Photographic Report ·
Solidarity Action in Scotland
By 7am Friday morning plenty people had already started to assemble at the intersection near the Ballinaboy Bridge. Some supporters had noise-makers and instruments while others carried banners listing the toxins that are understood to be in Carrowmore lake since the construction of the refinery started. The mood was friendly and jovial, and as we walked along the left hand side of the road towards the construction site the morning light brightened and the initial threatening smudges of dark grey cloud began clearing.
One intrepid supporter had a modern day music box – and he was transporting his sound system around in a wheelbarrow, there were a few skeletons in our ranks and others were dressed as comical clowns with squeaky pork chop wings. A few of the stewards seemed quite stressed out by their task of herding people to stay to one side of the white line in the middle of the road – even when there were no cars driving past. People walked along meeting and chatting with each other –there were people from Mayo, Cork, Dublin and Galway; as well as visitors from England, Canada, the US and Australia.
By the time we reached the construction site the workers and construction machinery were all on site and work had begun. There was a line of garda in front of the gates and a number of sunglasses & hard hat wearing security guards were peering over the fence at us. But it was the noisy continuous sound of the construction and drilling that seemed to cast a deflating spell on all of us.
Everyone that I spoke to today knew clearly why they were there and each time I have been up to Rossport I am amazed at how much in depth knowledge people have of the history, facts and figures of related to this controversial project; so I was surprised that while we were waiting in front of the gates (to one side of the road so that cars could drive by us), a few different voices came over the loudspeaker to tell us again why we were all there.
After the speeches it was apparent that there would be no attempt at all to block any vehicles leaving or arriving to the gates (and seeing that the construction work was going full steam ahead inside it would have been a bit pointless). It seemed too that this was always the intention, which surprised me because many of the people I spoke to, who had travelled quite a distance to be there, were ready to support this campaign by doing more than just typical symbolic, polite, marshalled protesting.
I was told that the decision to not attempt a blockade had been decided in a local Shell to Sea meeting as a few people were shocked and afraid of the garda’s mishandling of the day of support in November. Fair enough I guess, there were children on this walk, but quite a few people there did not realize that this was the intention from the outset; and quite a few people would probably not have bothered to come up at all as there is a walk-down-the-road-listen-to-speeches-demo in Dublin on Saturday the 24th Feb, and people wouldn’t have had to take time off work and travel so far.
We all dispersed then with some headed for soup and sandwiches but the mood was deflated. It was on this stroll back that whisperings of another action were happening and everyone was invited to take part. A number of us crossed the fence and waited at the bottom of that section of exposed pipeline where we had a brief meeting. At this point a resident from Rossport explained that this pipeline leads to the construction site and that the intention of this demonstration was to stick together as a group, go onto the site, halt the work and carry out a peaceful, non-aggressive inspection of the site. It was at this point that people who were uncomfortable with this could turn back. Some other members of Shell to Sea handed out leaflets with legal and medical support phone numbers; and I think this made people feel at ease that there would be experienced assistance if the gardai took a hard-line reaction to this.
We then walked along the wooden pallets parallel to the corroding pipe, and turned the corner into the site. Workers saw us as soon as we turned the corner. They halted their vehicles and sat back smoking cigarettes and watched us. There was no hostility to them as we walked past them, with some of our group encouraging them “Workers, workers join with us.”
We stopped at least 3 times to wait for people at the back to catch up, but also at these points those familiar with the area explained our location in relation to Carrowmore lake, Glenamoy, the camp and the direction of and numbers of each of the 3 gates on site. I think this type of information dissemination is imperative on an action like this, and thanks to those who filled us in.
No one disagreed with the proposal to head towards the main site, do the inspection and hopefully exit through Gate 1 – the main gate the guards had blocked earlier. We also had a brief discussion about what to do if the gardai baton charged us. Each time we stopped the point for us to stick together and not wander away from our route was reiterated. When got to the main area of the site a rough headcount said there were about 95 of us. There was no aggression from us towards the workers, to the point that when one of our group (a local resident) shouted “scumbag” a few times to one of the workers he was shushed by others in our group.
It was around this point also that 1 person from our group got his wrist injury; he did leave our group unilaterally (and some said stupidly) on his own after all our reminders to stay together, so he didn't really get much sympathy from a number of people I spoke to.
We now waited together for a while with some of our group taking photos of the building to date and others just happy to delay the work for as long as possible, eating some food and sharing tea or coffee. Again some chanted “Workers, workers join with us”, which was greeted with bemused smiles from a few of the construction workers who were all standing to one side watching us.
I think this reluctance to leave stood in our favour and the fact that we were nearly 100 strong also helped, as when the gardai arrived they seemed happy enough to escort us off the site, as opposed to baton charging us. As they surrounded us two of them started pushing one of the journalists with us, but the higher-ranking officers calmed them down and insisted that the back-line of gardai step back away from us. I appreciated this, as its difficult to walk calmly when you are surrounded by over 120 gardai with 3 paddy wagons waiting on site behind you, and on the walk down you pass 2 bus-loads full of police backup.
As we existed the gates that earlier had been locked keeping us out, fellow campaigners cheered, rhythmically hitting the metallic fence surrounding the site. I think the only reason we managed to leave the site without any arrests or assaults by the gardai was because they were there to witness our exit, along with journalists and camera crews from the BBC, TG4, Al Jazeera and newspaper photographers. So massive thanks to those that waited in support.
Some have said that the police got violent as they closed the gates and cleared the road, but having seen how the gardai up here have behaved before, I think it was just a minor bit of muscle flexing and a very belated attempt at asserting “authority”.
The mood outside the terminal and on the walk back to the hall to get soup and tea had totally lifted; and nearly every residential car driving by hooted, waving in support and giving everyone thumbs up. Although I was disillusioned with the initial protest, I see now that it suited many people and so the day ended up being a day of symbiosis, with 2 different methods of voicing ones opposition to this project being mutually supported by the other.
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Hmm. That last paragraph would be great if it were completely true. But I'm not sure that it is. If it were, then why were people like Mary Corduff and Mark Garavan speaking out against the action, its hardly the action or words of people being mutually supportive of what the breakaway group did.
The concept of which you speak where different groups within a campaign can do their own level of action really has to be sorted out before any more days of solidarity happen. Say that the Gardai actually had waded in or did a mass arrest while the crowd was in the middle of the building site, and people had ended up with injuries - and/or if the group had engaged in some property damage, which given the politics of many of the group, isnt a totally impossible scenario - would the spokespeople for S2S be supportive of what you did and criticise the Gardai for attacking you, or would they condemn you for breaching the security barrier and going outside the remit of what they had organised? Think about it. It's all OK now and this report is positive because the Gardai didnt get heavy... but what in a different situation?
Similarly if most of the local people passing by in cars were apparently supportive, then the question has to be asked - why are the spokespeople for S2S saying things like this to the mainstream media, and are they representative of the feeling among their organisation/community? If not, then why are they still the spokespeople?
There's also the issue of consent from a community. If people are serious about the ideal of communities making and taking decisions for themselves, at what (geographical, or otherwise) point does that community stop, or in what situations must it be respected? If the local group had decided on just a march around the fence, yet two or three local people decide outside of a community decision to bring ~100 people (most if not all visitors) on an action not agreed, is it valid, in a democratic sense? Is it breaching or disrespecting their decision?
All these questions are better debated now and in the open, because its better to try and iron out differences and reace compromise and consensus, while the campaign is still alive, rather than doing post-mortems if/after the campaign falls apart due to internal bickering and political narcissism of minor differences (cf. Shannon & antiwar movement [small letters]) and the terminal gets completed (an unfortunate reality, but one half day's stop from a blockade or site invasion out of every 30 to 40 working days regrettably isnt going to halt construction... other avenues are also needed)
over & out.
i was one of the people who went onto the site and i'd just like to say that my expierence of the action was pretty much the exact same as that described in this article.
i'm not really up to speed on the reaction of the local community or the leading figures of the campaign in rossport to the action but we did get a positive reaction from most motorists on the way back from the action.
those present during the action who, as alluded to in comment 1, may have been interested in property damage due to their political leanings were content to engage in a peaceful walk-through of the site out of respect for the local community. this should not be understated.
the walk-through was guided and attended by local people. the fact that they were in the minority represents how many people showed up from outside the area to show:
(a) their solidarity with the shit the locals have had to put up with for what is going on 7 years now, and
(b) that they were unhappy with what shell are doing on a more national and global level.
the point being that there are a multitude of issues that engage people in this campaign and those who took part this action attempted to balance their reasons for being there with the concerns voiced by people in the local shell 2 sea group.
as regards police violence: i think that since november, anyone travelling to rossport for solidarity actions and protests are all too aware of the possibility of finding themselves at the sore end of a garda baton. i think it is important to have protest events, such as the planned carnival walk, that are safe so everybody is able to attend and show their opposition to shell. however, i believe that the peaceful direct action taken by the 90 or so people yesterday morning should give those who didn't attend a little bit of confidence and trust in the intentions of those who did.
i think the protests should always be peaceful but it is probably inevitable that there will be more police violence. the gardai are in rossport to scare us away from protesting. protesters don't have to be violent for 'the law' to be broken. that should be obvious to everyone since the imprisonment of the rossport 5.
fair play to the huge amount of people who attended the day of solidarity and a big thank you to all the people who are at the front line every day.
It is being siad by locals around belmullet, that Dr garavin had been warned that if there was any law-breaking at yesterdays protest, that he would be prevented from having anymore "protest days" at the refinery.
If the people of rossport want to win they need all the support they can get, they will also need to take the fight to shell. If they condemn yesterdays action then they are condemning themselves to a life under the thumb of shell and the gardai.
Question for that second last comment - prevented by who? Who told him that? The Garda? How do you know this? Please clarify your comment.
It was common knowledge locally since Wednesday,that the S2S had made a deal with the gardai.
That is the main reason there were so few locals at the protest,
Dr garavin is quoted (by a "very" reliable source) as having assured Superintendent Joe Gannon that the protest would be peaceful/organised and within the law.
Superintendent Joe Gannon is said to have referred to some law he would use to prevent further protests if the law was flouted on Friday.
It was clear from Dr garavins comments on Friday that he feared the repercussions to the second protest on the day.
People made a Herculean effort to get to Rossport in large numbers yesterday morning and it paid off. The question however is where and how the campaign can win. And indeed what is the objective? Stopping the construction of the refinery? Everybody saw that work is underway so how can that be achieved? This campiagn's strength lies in its locally-rooted character but I don't believe that the battle can be won politically in Bellanaboy; there must be a wider strategy.
Different strokes for different folkes. Its true that supporters of S2S from around the country have different ideas as how things should be done, but it was decided last sunday at the S2S meeting in Glenamoy that people would march from the Glenamoy bridge to the gate at ballnaboy, one or two speeches, turn around and go back for refreshments. To ask groups from around the country to take a day off work for exactly that seems too much, but this was the majority wish of the local S2S group. Everyone who entered that site SHOULD have respected those wishes. These wishes were posted on the S2S website for all to see, approximately 1 week prior to the march.
While it was a peacefull occupation of the site, it took away from the good natured march to ballinaboy gate. Egan from Shell then jumped in falsely saying that there was vandilism and intimidation. Anyone outside of the campaign who saw or heard the news will come away thinking of the 'violent' nature of the march. And from peoples reaction that is what happened.
Residents of Erris pennisula are not supportive of Shells activites, but how can we encourage them to join our peacefull protests at ballinaboy if they are deemed 'violent'. This is the attitude which is out there and in the greater Mayo region also. By occupying the site yesterday morning, you allowed Shell another jab at the campaign, when we were trying desperatley to show that the protests are peacefull and always have been.
The action of occupying the site should have been carried out on another day, NOT yesterday. RESPECT the majority wishes of the locals in the future.
However, it was great to see such a large turnout of support and it was much appreciated the effort made by all to get to the march.
We would respect the "local wishes" if they made sense.
to expect people to travel great distances to have a stroll down a country road is nonsence.
Only for the fact that there is a "few" locals with courage and vision in erris.
yesterday would have been a total waste of time!
As for the good Dr, what the hell is he trying to do?
Making deals with the same PIGS that beat us with batons.
Just because he is seeking votes dosent give him the right to destroy our campaing!
"but how can we encourage them to join our peacefull protests at ballinaboy if they are deemed 'violent'"
At what stage did Shell to Sea activity start being deemed 'violent' and why did such people not become involved before then.
Also one of the persons attempting to effect an entry on to the Corduff's farm two years ago claimed to have been assaulted. According to your logic they should have been allowed entry as then they would not have claimed they had been assaulted.
Last time I checked there has been continual protest activity, each working day, at Shell sites since June 2005, it would be very hard not to know what goes on at those protests if one was resident in Erris unless you were reallly trying; prior to the third of October, for the most part, tea drinking, chatting and reading the newspapers was the 'order of the day', if supposed 'violence' alienates all these people anxious to join the cause why didn't they get involved then?
The people in Shell to Sea who are helping build this supposed 'violent' image are the people who come out in the media to more or less say that of their fellow protesters.
Any effecitve protest action will be deemed 'violent' by ones opponents - see for instance Sunday Independant stories of paramilitary intimidation in Erris in July 2005 - if you want to stop doing things for this reason basically what have you left to do? Indeed supposing all the people in Erris just waiting to get involved but put off by protests being deemed 'violent' got involved, to what end? What difference would it make, after all should they take some kinda effective mass action they would be deemed 'violent' and then would your argument not also apply to them.
The occupation in question took place AFTER the march, consequently it was at a different time from the march (where you say it would be ok).
As for the Glenamoy meeting, as a matter of curiousity, was there a vote?
in reply to "The Pale" you say you come to erris to show support for us?
By going behind our back and against our wishes you have caused untold damage to our fight for justice.
Our spokes people were right to distance themselfs from the unauthorised actions of people who hijacked our protest on the day.
If that is why you came .
you should have stayed where you were!
A video of yesterday's occupation is available at the link below. The pics are stills from the video.
John Monaghan goes to arrange safe passage for protesters
Garda Vehicles follow protesters to main gate
Protesters Approach Main Gate
Gates Are Opened for protesters
i see what you are saying but...
the statement on the shell to sea website regarding the nature of events on the 16th of feb solidarity day was put up on the 13th and was short and non-directive. if you want people to come all that way to have a demonstration that is going to be at odds with what they expect based on previous actions then the statement should have come out long before this, been explicit in what was intended, and stated the reasons for this.
the option of having an action such as this on a different day is not a practical one because it is hard enough for people to get away from their responsibilities and spend the guts of 2 days travelling and taking part in one event. this action might not have been possible or so peaceful with fewer people present.
i would say that at least a fifth of those who went into the site had either a stills or a video camera. therefore there is plenty of evidence to back up the description of the action as peaceful. add to this no arrests and no garda violence and the only reasonable conclusion to come to is that the protesters were non-violent. if locals who want to get involved rely only on the words of john egan in the mainstream media then i doubt they will ever bother getting involved.
the comments made by jerry cowley and dr. garavan are actually far more damaging.
There is a fetishisation of democratic form in the above discussion.
The truth of the matter is two years ago there was in no way majority public support in Erris for opposition to Shell’s project. Logically therefore the campaign should have never existed if the green light had to be given by a set number of people in a set geographic area.
The campaign against Shell was at its most effective in the of summer 2005, prior to the establishment of the Glenamoy meetings.
The Glenamoy meetings are, ironically enough, not very democratic, with no recognisable chairing, no agreed agenda, and no agreed decision making process.
People have to be considered responsible for their own actions, the idea that the activity of everyone and anyone opposed to Shell for whatever reason should be in some way ‘owned’ by the small number of prominent or talkative residents, and a few ‘outsiders’ in the inner circle, who dominate Glenamoy meetings, is ludicrous if it is held up as a model of democracy.
I certainly think in 2005 it was right for outside support to take a backseat and play a supporting role so as people locally could build up their own campaign (the campaign previous to this being a very different creature), however that time has passed, if one was to continue that you would be basically destroying empowerment, participation and democracy for the rest of Shell to Sea, rather than encouraging it among residents.
Also there is the illusion at large that Erris Shell to Sea, or some sub-section of the same, ‘ran’ the national campaign in the past, actually this never happened, the difference between the past and now, is, with the call by Erris Shell to Sea for more people to come and support them, in October 2006, one simply notices the fact in Erris.
The primary political ideal informing Shell to Sea has been, and should be, that residents of an area should have a veto over developments in that area which add an environmental risk to their lives.
It doesn’t follow that any and every action in opposition to that development should have to have a green light from a particular set of residents. How does one decide who is in that set? - all those opposed, those active, those most active, all residents, or in Shell to Sea fashion those who dominate poorly organised meetings, including people who are actually not residents.
Moreover a group of people residing beside what is to be a hazardous plant do not have the right to make it easier for other developments elsewhere to go ahead, now and in the future, by leading their campaign to defeat. Furthermore there is no reason why opposition should be confined to people opposed to the project on those grounds, that is the grounds that the development will increase environmental risk in Erris.
In any case the division in this question is not between ’locals’ and ’outsiders’.
For instance at the same time as the cancellation of the ’day of action’ in November, the fishermen were announcing their intent to blockade the bay again (dunno if they got that cleared in Glenamoy?).
Plenty of local people are well up for direct action, with one or two notable exceptions they tend to be ones of lesser status within the campaign and thus, in a great model of democracy, less say.
The two most prominent anti-direct action voices are in fact ’outsiders’.
I should say ‘well up for direct action’ despite media hostility and police aggression, which is the actual issue here, how many people took an anti-direct action line in the summer of 2005?
If this wasn’t the case the debate would be irrelevant as without a body of people living locally and engaging in direct action this struggle is over. For the reason that, as one poster above pointed out - what a ‘day of action’ once every 30 to 40 days.
The real issue is why perpetuate a situation where people with very different and apparently mutually contradictory tactical approaches and strategic perspectives are stuck underneath the same umbrella, even though they seem to want to go in different directions, and so will probably break the umbrella in the tug and then get wet.
The logical approach is that the people who see direct action as continuing to have a vital role, as it did in the past, despite current media hostility and current police numbers and police violence, should organise together to fill that role.
People who favour an exclusive lobbying and/or legal challenge based approach should do likewise.
These groups should operate on the basis of mutual respect, rather than denouncing each other in the media.
The currently existing set up doesn’t appear to please anyone.
Belmullet Pat I never said anything about going "to erris to show support for us", try reading the posts you are replying to.
"By going behind our back and against our wishes you have caused "
- whose backs and whose wishes, from reports on this site there were residents prominently involved in the occupation, though they certainly seemed to have been a minority of its participants.
I'm also unaware of any decision by any element of Shell to Sea to exclude direct action from the campaign, and I'm unaware of any decision pertaining to what people should do on Friday after the march had finished, unless going to Glenamoy to drink tea being made compulsory was a decision that was never communicated.
"untold damage to our fight for justice."
- try and substansiate this claim.
"Dr garavin is quoted (by a "very" reliable source) as having assured Superintendent Joe Gannon that the protest would be peaceful/organised and within the law.
Superintendent Joe Gannon is said to have referred to some law he would use to prevent further protests if the law was flouted on Friday.
It was clear from Dr garavins comments on Friday that he feared the repercussions to the second protest on the day."
Understandable. After all, it was supposed to be a peaceful protest and any attempt to reduce Garda violence should be welcomed.
"In a deal with local campaign members the workers had been bussed onto site at 6.00am that morning to avoid the 7.30am demonstration"
Sabotaging other protests??? If you don't agree with direct action as a tactic that's fair enough, dissassociate yourself from direct actions. But interfering with other protests will do a lot more damage to the campaign than those of us (outsiders and locals) who enterred the site will.
As an outsider I'm slow to criticise local decisions (apart from the one above). If locals are not involved in this campaign then it is just the next in a series of forums for hippies to meet each other and complain about the system. As I understand it, there were locals involved in the entering of the site, notably John Monoghan, Maura Harrington and some who gave lifts to people up to the pipeline route. Afterwards, when we were walking to the soup and sandwiches, there were locals giving lifts
and the majority of cars driving by were beeping in support.
Despite this, in the comments so far, there is mostly criticism from the locals. Would any of the above mentioned supportive locals care to drop a comment supporting the dirent action??
Otherwise, I suggest splitting the campaign in two:
One group, the 'Shell2Sea' group composed of locals and supportive outsiders, will continue to peacfully and legally try to get shell to move the refinery offshore.
The other group, called 'Shell2Hell' comprised of long-haired people with colourful clothing, will use direct action to remove Shell from the equation and reclaim the gas off Mayo into public ownership.
Beware of Agent Provocateurs (senior gardai) posting stuff on this thread and pretending to represent local people. They want to foment a split in the camp. Stay united!
I agree with John we he says.......Beware of Agent Provocateurs ........ but I dont think those agents are gardai, the gardai dont need to provoke a split.
It is clear that the local members themselfs are split into two camps, with maura and john and a few others (rightly) in favour of limited direct action.
While the pragmatists like garavin/ms,corduff and crowley are seeking to "uphold the law" for fear of losing votes in the elections.
I think "outsider" has a good Idea, but The two strands of the campaing must work together,
(A carrot and stick approach)
It would give us much more influnce if shell and the goverment feared we would shut dowm the construction!
While the more moderate strand would deal with the finer detail of an agreement!
below is a link to an interview maura done with rte.
in it she clearly outlines what is wrong with this project.
Well done maura !
It does make no sense dragging people form all corners of the country for a march like Fridays, however respect should have been shown for the majority of the local community. Everyone feels for those who have stood in front of those gates since October and who have stood up to this entire project for the past several years, and as such at the very least people should have shown them the respect they deserve in their local community.
Yes, one of the locals who has been there from the start was there with the group on the site. But the majority of the locals were not. Regardless of any other issue which is argued about, respect was not shown on the day.
At least theres one thing which no one disagrees on, is that this campaign must be won. How we agree to do it is another question.
It strikes me that Friday morning was a catalyst of sorts. The local campaign, understandably, wanted to carry on with things as they were. The majority of the Erris campaigners had come to some sort of an agreement with the Gardaí that would allow a very limited protest on Friday morning. In return, there would be no interference with the workers. In effect, that meant that Shell were given the OK to go ahead with the refinery.
That was bound to antagonise people who travelled to Erris to do just that - interfere with the construction project.
People at the march told me they were depressed with the direction the campaign was taking.
People in the camp were talking about leaving if things stayed the way they were.
In effect, what happened on Friday cleared the air and exposed a difference of opinion that has been in existence for quite a while, but kept under the surface by the need to maintain unity within the campaign.
Now that things are out in the open, I think there is a need for debate, in a comradely way, on the way forward on the issue of gas exploration.
I'm not saying that one side of the debate is necessarily right and the other is absolutely wrong.
In fact, there is a need for a coming together of the various strands within the broader campaign.
However, blanket condemnation of actions like the occupation of the site do no good at all.
I think Gerry Cowley had more than one eye on the upcoming election when he spoke out against the occupation in the media.
I didn't go into the site on Friday. They were already inside when I heard about it. However I went back to the gates and witnessed them coming out and there were quite a few local people welcoming them back, cheering them on.
It was important, also, that Maura Harrington and John Monaghan were seen to be with them.
The idea that the split is along geographical lines is wrong.
If there is a difference in approach, it is along political lines.
The posts about a supposed difference between local and non local protesters seem to be making a lot of assumptions. The grounds on which these are being made are not at all clear to those of us elsewhere.
In relation to Fridays tresspass it appears that at least two locals were involved. One non-local criticised the tresspass in the media, ie "Mark Garavan of Shell to Sea said: "We were very anxious to ensure that wouldn't happen. It was not part of our planned day at all." From some of the comments posted here it appears Mark was not present at either the march or the tresspass so presumably was reacting to whatever story the media was spinning to him.
One local who some are interpreting as speaking against the action actually just said that it wasn't part of the official protest. Ms Corduff said "she didn't know if the people who entered the plant were members of Shell to Sea, .."I don't know who did it or what the purpose was," she said. "We had nothing to do with it".Presumably everyone agrees with this as no one seemed to claim this was an offical action, whatever that might mean.
So the spin put on the limited information available actually appears to be the reverse of reality because leaving aside Mary Corduffs statement of the facts what you actually have is an outsider criticising an action locals were involved in.
The key seems to be the claim that the Glenamoy meeting on Sunday had decided to only stage a march. However from the outside it is not clear what exactly this claim means. Given that there are obvious differences locally on tactics this couldn't have been a consensus decision. So in the interests of clarifying this
Was there a vote at this meeting?
If so why weren't the results of this vote transmitted to those travelling from outside the area?
If not on what basis is a decision meant to have been made?
And finally was a vote taken at this meeting on what StS locally would organise or was it also taken on what other individuals and groups could not organise?
As far as I can tell because none of the above information was transmitted to those travelling down the only indication that they could have had was trying to read between the line of the 13 Feb press statement at http://www.corribsos.com/index.php?id=1262 This makes no mention of other possible actions and communicates no local decision one way or the other on such actions.
The Shell to Sea site seems to claim the tresspass for the campaign with its headline of Shell to Sea supporters peacefully occupy proposed Shell-Statoil refinery news and updates
So before people start to tear into each other about democracy or respect or whatever the question of what decision was made and how it was transmitted need to be clarified.
It is inevitable that these sort of disputes will arise with a long running struggle where genuine differences over tactics exist. They become much more likely and much more dangerous when the campaign is going through a difficult period and seems uncertain of the future. The focus then can switch to finding someone internally to blame rather than getting past the cause of whatever problems exist. In this case we already know that Shell and their friends in the media are doing their best to stir up this sort of internal conflict so we should be extra careful before accusing anyone of bad faith or lack of respect.
I think a lot of what joe says is correct, but the fact that Dr garavin is being second guessed is a worring development.
He is our spokes-person (and a very good one) without his vision and leadership this campaing would fall apart.
The protesters who disobeyed the instructions WERE wrong, I would not blame S2S if they banned all who entered the site, from attending any more of S2S organised protests!
We can not win this without obeying the will of the leadership in S2S.
No-one can be banned from attending anything...I was one of the S2S supporters who went inside the terminal on Friday and I will make no apology for standing on land given away by Colite -a body which I fund through my taxpaying to express my opposition for the destruction of an environment in my country. I need ask no permission from the Gardai or Corrib e&p to express my disgust at how My government is treating democracy,resources and a community which it obviously intends to gradually resettle in some other area as the pipeline rules out furthr community regeneration.
My respect for those in the area and at the coalface is not in question but they do not have any power to dictate who opposes something that affects us all.
Erris ‘disrespect’ is a pretty strong accusation to be throwing around. People must have very little to be doing with their time to want to travel to the back end of nowhere, risking arrest and injury, to ‘disrespect’ some people most of them do not know.
I'm sure the majority of folk who have been at the pickets since October 2006, or June 2005, are really gutted that work on the site was stopped on Friday, for the first time since the third of October.
Completely fucking gutted., or would that be maybe cause it is the first time in four months, rather than cause it happened. (your only evidence for this is that it was a small minority of locals involved in the action in question, which proves nothing really, there are people posting here happy with it, who were not involved).
Now supposing you could manufacture a majority before hand - and it is a big supposing - the fact is plenty of people are sidelined up in Erris in a ‘decision making structure’ that is not worthy of the name, and if anyone is being disrespected, it is people pushed to one side in the opposition to a project which will devastate their area, something achieved mostly by playing on fears which are grossly exaggerated.
The problem with the ‘outsiders’ (ie the ‘outsiders’ other than Jerry Cowley and Mark Garavan) is that their presence swings the internal local division in favour of direct action.
Direct action was fine with most in practise, if not in that particular terminology, up until November of 2006.
After all direct action was; refusing engineers entry to farms, the ’park-in’ on the road to the Rossport compound, mass picketing of the sites, the threatened blockade of the bay by fishing boats.
It won the campaign everything it has won up to this point.
(you could also say public opinion was important - which it was, but it was only direct action, or rather the repression of it, that made the public at all aware of what was going on).
What changed was; increased media hostility and a massively increased police presence and police violence. (which in fairness was predictable).
In other words the enemy took counter-action against the effective action that demonstrators were taking against the project.
This wrong footed the campaign considerably. However considerable intervention was required, by some in the campaign, to move the thing from a direct action position to a non-direct action position.
See for instance Jerry Cowley showing up every morning to dissuade people (people being residents btw) from blockading the site, something he actually did by chasing after them while they were doing it.
This being democratic because the campaign had decided on non-violence and Cowley’s analyses of what constitutes violence seems to include sitting down, standing on a road, and going for a stroll through Ballinaboy.
If the struggle is going to go anywhere it has to get back to what it once was good at, that is actually going out and stopping construction. That means a lot more than ‘days of action’ or ‘days of support’, as the actual capacity to do that regularly resides in people resident in Erris.
None of the above should mean a rejection of other tactics, legal, lobbying, raising public awareness all of which are essential, but none of which will do anything on their own with out ’facts on the ground’ in Erris.
(again the history of this struggle shows this, the years in An Bord Plenala did not produce the desired result, the results started coming from the spring of 2005 onwards).
The good media image. A distortion that is part of the wrong footing from October 2006 onwards is that at one stage this struggle had something of a good media image.
But this is actually often the case, so did the anti-drugs movement until at some stage the message ‘no this is a bad thing’ got transmitted down to the journalists.
The switch came earlier than October 2006 and came not because of the campaigns’ use of direct action, but because of its refusal to ‘compromise‘, that is at the time of Cassells and Advantica.
Appealing to the media is useless, no one can dispute that most of it is owned or controlled by people who are very obviously direct opponents of Shell to Sea.
This does not mean that trying to get media coverage and trying to get decent media coverage is not a good and necessary thing. It means that there is no point to changing yourself into what the media decides is acceptable. For most of it one might as well change ones self into something that Shell decides is acceptable.
Indeed if one held that the most important thing is to influence the public beyond Bellacorrick into taking heed of this issue (which of necessity means a strong focus on natural resources) then media coverage is very useful or essential.
It is not the main argument for direct action, or my argument, but it is the case that if there is a ‘conflict’, for want of a better term, in Erris, the media will be more likely cover it, than say a book launch or a gig.
Now the media may waffle on about ‘violence’ and this and that in its coverage, but it is a deeply elitist assumption to say that most people do not have the wit to see through that, particularly in this context.
(this response to the media coverage is likely to be influenced by a lot of factors, it is likely to be more in Shell to Sea favour in Dublin and less in Shell to Sea favour in Mayo, for a host of social and historic reasons). People may not want to see through it, but those people are pointless to appeal to.
Thus the success of ‘influence politicians by appealing to the public primarily via the media’ is actually dependant on direct action.
To Blank-Dub: “Stopping the construction of the refinery? Everybody saw that work is underway so how can that be achieved?”
Work was underway to a far greater extent when it was stopped previously in June and July of 2005. Indeed the next stage is peat haulage - which was actually well underway by July 2005, when work was last stopped for a considerable period.
That is not a disagreement with what you are saying, just a clarification.
The posters directly above ‘Clare’ and ‘A Local’ must have very little knowledge or experience of Shell to Sea to refer to a “leadership”, a notion that campaign has always been very strong on rejecting.
clare did refer to a “leadership” and there is a leadership team in S2S.
So don't fool yourself in thinking otherwise, garavin,corduff,Moran,O'Donnell are all main players in S2S if they propose something it is unlikely to be questioned.
Maura has lost influence since her PR disaster on liveline, John is looked on by many locals as a eccentric and a blow in to the area. (maybe this explains why both of them went onsite).
What do you mean by........" it is people pushed to one side in the opposition to a project which will devastate their area, something achieved mostly by playing on fears which are grossly exaggerated."
What fears are exaggerated?
and refusing engineers entry to farms, the ’park-in’ on the road to the Rossport compound, mass picketing of the sites, the threatened blockade of the bay by fishing boats.
None of that is direct action, breaking and entering like what happened last Friday is direct action and illegal.
Of course mark and Gerry were worried about the elections, and that is why they distanced themselves from this illegal action.
You and your friends should have respected the wishes of S2S and refrained from breaking the law, I fear the damage done Friday to this campaign and mark and Gerry's prospects for office are more than you might comprehend.
We need mark to win this seat so he can effect change from the inside, so remember the next time someone takes matters into their own hands, you are supposed to be supporting us , not trying to undermine us!
I must have missed the discussions where it was agreed that Shell to Sea was contesting elections and Mark Garavan and Gerry Cowley were the official candidates.
How do all the political parties that support the campaign feel about this strategy? I assume they were consulted?
If some of the attitude towards democracy displayed here is endemic in portions of the S2S campaign then it is going to hit the wall faster than it thinks. As a long time active supporter of S2S and someone who trespassed on Friday, its rather shocking to hear that there is some cabal at the heart of the campaign seeing themselves as a natural leadership who's ideas are "unlikely to be questioned" regardless of how little they represent the majority of those campaigning on this issue. Such figures always tend to emerge within social movements, brimming with confidence and cock-fucking-sure that their analysis is correct - bullying and foisting it on the majority. Ye can fuck right off in my opinion, ye have nothing to add at this stage other than playing into the game of the state and Shell in demobilising protest around this issue. Cop yerselves on.
‘A local’ is most likely someone attempting to deliberately stir and/or give Shell to Sea a bad image. However on the off chance they are not:
“We had no chairperson, secretary, treasurer, or anything like that because to set up a chairperson you are setting them up as a target and when there is enormous money involved a target can be very uncomfortable indeed, and it also does a second thing that ye throughout the country are witness to each one of has a shared responsibility it doesn’t matter that it’s me or whoever it is but anyone who becomes involved becomes involved on their own terms as they see it themselves they don’t become involved as members of a political party, as members of a business organisation, or a Shell to Sea structure, they become involved on their own terms and that is why we are so strong and that is why we will be strong in the future.”
- Micheál Ó Seighin, addressing public meeting in Cork a year ago.
Which means acting directly to cause something to happen or prevent something from happening.
(Here is a not the best wikipedia entry on the subject http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Direct_Action)
Clearly everything I listed as ‘direct action’ is direct action.
Direct action being distinguished from seeking that politicians or the courts ‘cause something to happen or prevent something from happening’, this being known as indirect action.
Compare the news reports here: http://www.indymedia.ie/article/75365 and here: http://www.indymedia.ie/article/78631 with the following parts of the statute book:
Public Order Act (1994) Section 9:
9.—Any person who, without lawful authority or reasonable excuse, wilfully prevents or interrupts the free passage of any person or vehicle in any public place shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding £200.”
Public Order Act (1994) Section 8:
“Failure to comply with direction of member of Garda Síochána.
8.—(1) Where a member of the Garda Síochána finds a person in a public place and suspects, with reasonable cause, that such person—
( a ) is or has been acting in a manner contrary to the provisions of section 4, 5, 6, 7 or 9, or
( b ) without lawful authority or reasonable excuse, is acting in a manner which consists of loitering in a public place in circumstances, which may include the company of other persons, that give rise to a reasonable apprehension for the safety of persons or the safety of property or for the maintenance of the public peace, the member may direct the person so suspected to do either or both of the following, that is to say:
(i) desist from acting in such a manner, and
(ii) leave immediately the vicinity of the place concerned in a peaceable or orderly manner.
(2) It shall be an offence for any person, without lawful authority or reasonable excuse, to fail to comply with a direction given by a member of the Garda Síochána under this section.
(3) A person who is guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding £500 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or to both.”
‘A Local‘: “We need mark to win this seat so he can effect change from the inside,”
I’m sure the intention behind Mark Garavan’s possible bid for a seat in the Seanad is an awareness raising/lobbying exercise NOT to “effect change from the inside”, as he would doubtless be aware that:
“Its powers are much weaker than those of the Dáil and it can only delay laws with which it disagrees, rather than veto them outright.”
“It was intended to play an advisory and revising role rather than to be the equal of the popularly elected Dáil. While notionally every Act of the Oireachtas must receive its assent, it can only delay rather than veto decisions of the Dáil. In practice the Senate has an in-build government majority due to the Taoiseach's nominees.”
Number one the fear that things like a bunch of people walking through Ballinaboy will cause the skies to open and Shell to Sea loose loads of support cause John Egan (or the Garda Press Office or Fianna Fail or Paul Williams) will make up some story.
As has been claimed here in the comments to the above article, but strangely is never substantiated.
Excellent coverage - of the day & explanation of the long term commitment from Sean Mallory. It will be good to see the complete version of http://indymedia.ie/article/81061 available.
Excellent action - on the day & before. You're expected aren't you - to oppose state, oppose corporations, oppose authority and build communities. & that's why you're expected to cross the fence.
Excellent reflection - you're also expected to talk it all out afterwards.
you're doing brilliantly. you're inspiring people - inside & outside of your movement. Because you're doing what you're supposed to do - oppose state, oppose corporations, oppose authority and build communities & on top of it -"taking the volative unpredictability out of the mobilisations of anarchism". Now none of you spoil that by shooting at the czar or archduke please. We've been waiting a very long time for people like you. A few years ago global events provided a catalyst which at the micro-level brought you lot out out of the woodwork. I used to say you were "jedi for the day" back then. But now you are far above and well beyond that. You are the chosen people who alone will be brought out of the land of troubles which is Egypt, pyramid building, unrewarding tedious labour & exploitation! Come forth to the river & let me (or someone else more local) anoint your heads in oil. Now can ye form an orderly queue? oh yes. there will be tests yet. For verily it is not proper to anoint your heads in oil. You must go back from assembly into your lives as ordinary citizens - hiding your special powers until they are called upon again. But don't forget - "it's good to walk out of Egypt" & "there is no first or last amongst us".
As it says on the tin.
Not So Bright But Early In The Morning
One Man War Against Babylon
Breaking On Through
Along the Pipe
Video footage from Friday
I dont want to sound like a raving militant (no offense to raving militants) but the fact is that Feb 16th was billed as a day of action. Had we all stood and listened to what we already know before going off for sandwiches we would have been as well staying at home, indeed many of us probobly would have the next time. Frankly i think shell got off lucky considering our strangth and courage on the day.
Questions need to be asked as to why the guards knew not to bother turning up in numbers on the day and why the scabs were already in when we arrived, i get the feeling the stewards would have the answers. We must consider just what is the issue here, an on shore refinery or shell stealing our resources, If it is the second then the Rossport residents cant dictate conditions of protest.
Massive credit must be given to the comrades at the camp, i saw some great organisation going on there with minimum resources.
Finally a word of warning for the Rossport residents from Henry Joy McKracken "the rich will always betray the poor", ask yourself who could do business with shell, or who already does?
Cant beleve the scabs have got hand lotion in the toilets.
Sorry to burst your bubble Ciaran but I believe you are mistaken. The 16th was billed as a day of solidarity. Regarding what you are implying against the stewards you might just remember that we met a group of workers on route to the refinery site. Could it be that they rang the foreman to say a big group of protesters are making their way to the site? At the sS2S meeting on Sunday evening most who attended agreed that it was the fact that the protest was stewarded that the action was a success. The goons were put to sleep.
"We must consider just what is the issue here, an on shore refinery or shell stealing our resources, If it is the second then the Rossport residents cant dictate conditions of protest."
Ciaran might you just consider the fact that the "Rossport residents” stay behind after you go back home. They deal with irate cops on Monday morning. They continue to get pushed off the road Monday through Friday. Their concern is for the likes of you who may get hurt in Mayo. This is a valid concern when you look at the behaviour to the cops to date. The Shell to Sea campaign has many issues of concern including the two you have pointed out.
However you are right in some the points you have made. You like all of us should have some say in the direction of the campaign. The question is would you be mature enough to make the right decisions for large group of people? Would you consider the consequences for the campaign and then make the choices that may not suit you?
It’s great to see the camp fulfilling its purpose. This is no mean feat and takes a lot of sacrifice from those living and working there. I have a great respect for all of those who live there as I couldn’t live should a monastic life.
There should be hand lotion for all!!!!
Dont be sorry Conor you didnt burst my bubble at all.
Lets be clear, it was the occupation of that compound that made the day a success, indeed many people were saying that if it hadnt occured then the campaign would have been as good as dead. Now from where i was standing the stewards did their best to get people to go home instead so just how they made the day a success is beyond me.
To point out that people have to live with the guards after we go home clearly suggests that people fear some sort of retalitory attack, as we know thats a more than valid concern but lets be honest that wasnt the argument being used last Friday by those who opposed direct action, what we heard was people saying that it would look bad in the media, i personally was told that it was disrepectful to the Rossport 5.
I understand that its easy for the likes of me to sit up here in the north not getting my hands dirty everymornig and make millitant comments for people in mayo (we put up with southerners doing it for years) but what is going to stop shell ? moral pressure from the road side plus some lobbying in the Dail? because when you rule out passive direct action then thats all your left with.
Your right it was billed as a day of solidarity, just everyone i know was calling it a day of action.
Your right about the hand cream though.
Respect for the Rossport 5 and their families is a reason to condsider things on, how it looks in the maintstream media is not.
Ciaran I thought I was very clear. I like many others agree with you about the success of the 16th lay in the fact that there was an “occupation of that compound”. Let me spell it out for you because I am presuming that Friday was your first time in the area and your first time at a Shell demo at Bellanaboy.
The reason that we got in to the refinery site was because the march was stewarded. The cops didn’t expect people to invade the site. Effectively they were a sleep and fucked up. I would say someone will pay for this mistake. Hopefully it will be Gannon but I kinda doubt it as he seems to be adept at petty Garda office politics. Fingers O’Reilly may back this claim up as he was scapegoated after November 10th. This will put off any promotion he expected for some time.
I have gone off the point. The point you made in your earlier comment implied that the stewards were doing the bidding of An Gardai Siochana and that was unfair.
“Questions need to be asked as to why the guards knew not to bother turning up in numbers on the day and why the scabs were already in when we arrived, i get the feeling the stewards would have the answers”
Please take this back as you have been proved wrong. Acknowledge this!
The stewards took their task seriously and I raised this matter in the meeting on Sunday. Nevertheless the success of the stewards was making sure the cops didn’t block off the roads around the refinery which would be the case if we had made any plans to go on to the site. For the record there was no plan and the stewards were unwilling partners in this action.
What could be construed as “disrespectful to the Rossport 5” may be the fact that it was agreed by the S2S meeting on the Monday before that there would be no direct action on Friday. When it did happen most people were left in the dark including Mary Corduff who was the spokesperson on the day. This has acknowledged and apologies have been made and accepted. The general feeling is that Friday was a success.
Just to be clear Ciaran I don’t think that you come across as militant. You made the point about this being about Ireland’s resources
“We must consider just what is the issue here, an on shore refinery or shell stealing our resources, If it is the second then the Rossport residents cant dictate conditions of protest.”
Then you go on to moan;
“I understand that its easy for the likes of me to sit up here in the north not getting my hands dirty everymornig and make millitant comments for people in mayo (we put up with southerners doing it for years) but what is going to stop shell ?”
Please keep it consistent. Either these are issues for all the people of Ireland or they are not.
Personally I think it is a diversity of tactics that “is going to stop shell”. This will include political lobbying.
Oh yeah the term is nonviolent direct action (nvda) no passive direct action. I am not nitpicking here as there is a massive difference between the two and in this campaign it is be the former that is be advocated.
Conor what you say makes sense but it cant be said that the dynamics of the action were very clear to anyone who wasnt privy to the decision making process.
Originly i said "questions need to be asked", they were asked and you answered them - last night i put a post up saying 'fair enough' for some reason it was deleted along with other related postings (wouldnt mind knowing why).
By the way Conor i wasnt "moaning", when i spoke of 'putting up with southerners', up here its called banter and is generally regarded as being healthy, there is no doubt that this is an issue for all of Ireland and beyond.
As for political lobbying, you probably dont need me to remind you of the price required by those who will lobby for you, just ask anybody in Leinster house where they stand on direct action and they will tell you that their party left it at the door on the way in next to their good intentions, the dail only listens to scumbags.
Even stepping onto the constitutional chess board will mean dealing with people who make a career from stifling debate, discouraging initiative and undermining morale, if you think that the gamble is worth it work away. Your right it was my first time down i havnt been around for a while and to be honest the commitment i saw by those activists who dedicated themselves to co-ordinating arrivals, getting billets, bedding and food ready in the middle of the night was one of the most enspiring things i have ever seen.
So whats next?
Ciaran here is many things we can agree with and some we don’t. The decision making process needs to opened out so that we can all get involved.
I read your comment this morning. The reason it was taking down is that one of the editors deemed it to be bulletin board chat or bb chat as it is known on indy. I can send you link if you want to see where the comments that removed go. This should answer your question on the removed comments.
Let’s forget the “putting up with southerners” comment. It reminded me when I was attacked, by three Milly’s, in a drinking club in Beechmont for making bombs in the South and then sending the up North. T’was a fairly fowl day and they weren’t healthy.
As for the political lobbying, I think we have some differences here. This is going to happen with or with out us. Yes there is a price to pay but the upside is that the state will want to negotiate an out and it will be handled by the good Doctor Crowley. The downside isn’t worth talking about. This is the way it will work without the coup d'état. What we do is to work for public support to change the state’s position. Shitty business sure enough.
The camp is a great resource and well worth supporting. The story of the camp is amazing too. It’s history can be traced right back to the Peace Camp in Shannon and beyond to Ecotopia in Tuamgraney, Co. Clare in 2002. There is a great movement evolving in Ireland. Personally I think we will need to up the ante in Mayo.
Maybe a summer of festivals like those at Carnsore Point. We could ask Phill Collins or Billy Joel to headline.
I've read with great interest most of the comments on this article, and I just want to add a brief one myself.
Many thanks to all those that were willing to travel on a working day to the wilds of Mayo, for what was billed as a simple stroll down the road and a cup of tea.
We all got more than we bargained for, but it shows one of the ways forward... more action! Non-violent does not mean passive; it must be hard and determined and designed to provoke a response, otherwise it is futile and we will be ignored.
Well done to all involved. Next time let's all do it together, and let the world know we intend to stop this thing for good!!
Inspiration for the campaign
JM and others should practice what gandi preached "truth".
If you told the truth about the emmisions from this refinery the local people would be able to sleep peacfully in their beds at night.
Have you read the report included with the objections on the epa website?
It is by a well respected aquatic eco-toxicologist , and he says that the discharge will have "NO" impact on the marine envoirement.
That is not excatly what S2S has being saying, and without any expert to back up their claim.
I haven't seen much promotion on Indymedia of tomorrow's (Sat 24 Feb) national Shell to Sea rally. Lots of reflection etc on last Friday's events, which is great, but Indymedia has thousands of visitors who might go on a rally in Dublin and this isn't being maximised.
Suggest we add JM's photo and archive comments along with the '3' inspirators there!
You have nationwide respect JM.
You have changed not.
We support you.
PS. Just some of JM's work - 'Corrib Truth Overdue' by JM, Aug '05: http://www.indymedia.ie/article/71713
Thanks mfor helping us last Friday JM,I was almost regretting taking a day off work and you should NEVER be driven to that point!
Youre absolutely right,peaceful protest has never meant passive protest,we must take the fight to Shell and the state and create a political crisis.
We have the moral high ground and we will always have it,the only parties that have used and will continue to use oppresive tactics are Shell and the state.
We will not rest until this one has been fought out and we have our arms and fists in the air!
See you all tomorrow.
p.s-Agree with earlier poster,maybe a graphic in the top corner of the homepage for the march might be in order..although that function isnt as prominent as it was in the old format so its not as significant anyway.
Great idea about the concert conor, not so sure about the line up (is Collins not a Tory?).
Ask the saw doctors, even McGabhann id say it would be right up their street and if he said yes more would follow, great stuff.
Especially with surname like that
At the conception stages of the solidarity camp there was a concert of punk bands. I didn’t go myself but I heard mixed reviews of the line up. I would imagine a concert or festival to be a great thing. I rang Billy Joel and he's up for it.
Up Town Girl
She's been living in here up town world...............
Question is who's up for organising it?
I have an A-Z list of reasons why I can not but..................
Following the debate with interest. Good to see you're well and roaring.
Some of us non-swp iawmers [yes, we do exist and are growing], who were actually part of organising the 4 (four) Carnsore occupations/festivals in the 1977-81 period, would not mind giving you and any coalition of the willing a hand.
Good luck and solidarity with the project - and we may see you tomorrow at the march.
I believe industrial action holds the key (partially at least) to this theft of our resources and rampant landlordism . Given the differential in tax rates borne by Irish workers and the tax deal given to Shell and the Oreillys (no tax and no royalties) then nationwide work stoppages should be the way forward . The Irish people are being ripped off , Irish workers are being shafted while billions of THEIR resources go into the bank accounts of the super rich .Irish workers are forced to watch their relatives lying on hospital trolleys for lack of beds and funding while billions are stuffed in the pockets of billionaires at their and their nations expense . The corruption at play here is just breathtaking .
At the end of the day revenue is being stolen , money that could pay for healthcare and education of Irish workers children and families is being ripped off . While workers bear the burden of Irelands tax collection system the fat cats rob the workers and pay feck all .
Its time for the trade unions to step up to the plate and get the workers out on the streets .
As regards the campaign itself although the focus is localised the issue is national . Therefore the form of protest undertaken should be done along democratic lines . This dispute is between the Irish nation and the bastards who are raping it of its resources and robbing us all blind . It should not be a personalised affair . Thats the road to disaster
The information used by the acquatic eco-toxicologist is based on information from Shell. At one of the meetings between the Erris Inshore Fishermans Association and Shell, Shell admitted that they did not know the composition nor the quantity of the discharge from the outfall pipeline (minutes taken). Going on the information Shell are publishing in their monthly info sheets, local water users should have nothing to worry about, but on what basis if Shell dont know themselves.
If you read the report http://www.epa.ie/licences/lic_eDMS/090151b28015abb1.pdf you will find that the data used to assess the risk associated with the discharge to sea was obtained from the offshore EIS and the IPPC licence application.
The data in relation to the IPPC application is most relevant, that is the worst case scenario plus a comfort margin, the discharge cannot exceed what is applied for in the IPPC licence.
The data in the offshore EIS was compiled by RSK a reputable independent environmental consultancy http://www.rsk.co.uk/ .
So to claim it is Shell's information, is misleading, it was compiled for Shell By RSK, are you implying that RSK lied?
If you know or believe there is fraudulent data in either source used to predict the effects of the discharge, then please point it out as it will undoubtedly be relevant, and ruin RSK as an independent environmental consultancy firm.
You say ............"At one of the meetings between the Erris Inshore Fisherman's Association and Shell, Shell admitted that they did not know the composition nor the quantity of the discharge from the outfall pipeline (minutes taken).......
Can you post a copy of the minutes?
were the minutes taken by a independent chairperson/secretary, if they were then I think it is amazing that the fishermen let is go unchallenged.
were you at the meeting or are you going or hearsay?
Ant thats something that you will never get hold of ,
as for reports and other infomation , shell to sea is brimming with experts in every field so why should they lie,sure they have no need to !!
Being a regular visitor to this site, I notice that it seems to be a given that any comments not completely in agreement with S2S have obviously been posted by an under cover cop, or Shell worker etc. For the record, I have no connection with Shell, none of my family are looking for a job, or running for public office, and I live in Belmullet town. All questions are met with hostility, as if the less well informed among us are only trying to stir up trouble. I have not looked for any pro-Shell websites yet, and maybe they don't exist, but if they take the same tone as the comments I see here, then I think the chances of either side seeing the other point of view are very slim indeed. I appreciate that feelings are running high, but the first step in reaching a compromise, it seems to me, is the ability to see the other side of the argument. Apart from that, I hope that some day the residents of Rossport and Bellanaboy will find some way to live with the terminal if it comes to pass, and that they will come to see their fears unfounded.
We do not belive you , you must have a vested intrest in shell
This terminal will never go ahead, we have now regained the high ground in this campaign, shell and the goverment are on their way leaving behind a trail of destruction.
The majority of mayo and the country supports us now , we have found new direction in or campaign with the NVDA route taken by john managhnan and maura harrington , both legends and thorns in the side to shell and its supporters.We have shown the country that shell and the government have no intrest in the people on the ground , we have shown them many times that we prepeard to enter in to dialogue to find a solution , we have shown them that out protests are peacful and are law abidinding , only to be beaten of the road and rubbished in the media as left wing trouble makers.
Shell to sea are not the ones who have lied about theis project , we do not have to.
Onwards to victory.
"The majority of mayo and the country supports us now"
S2S wont have to wait much longer to see how much support they have in erris and mayo,
If their "pet TD" Dr cowley is elected this time round it will prove they have the support of most of the people that votes for him.
He ran in the last election on the state of the health service, he has been a TD for four yrs and the health service has got worse.
If he gets re-elected (which I doubt) it will be solely because he is seen as S2S, he has tried to distance himself from that tag recently.
But I expect it is too late for him to jump ship now!
His support (or lack of) will reflect the support S2S has in mayo.
The post by "tally man" above gives me an idea.
why not start a campaign in erris/mayo to find the real level of support for shell and shell to sea, the general election gives us the perfect opportunity.
Dr Gerry cowley is a staunch supporter of the s2s campaign, if it was proposed that a vote for Dr cowley is a vote of support for s2s, we would have to choose another candidate to represent a pro shell stance, then the people of mayo would De facto have a referendum on the corrib saga.
We could publicise the idea on local radio(Tommy Marren MW radio) and in the local newspapers,(letters to editors) then it could not be claimed that the support (or lack of) for one side or the other is due to intimidation, as nobody will know how individuals voted.
Anybody in favour of such a plan?
Cowley wil be re elected. He got enough first preference votes last time to be reasonably comfortable, and he's done the work on the ground that he needed to do. Barring unforseen events between now and the GE he should be sure of a seat.
This won't shut you up however.
Garavan, if he goes ahead with his candidacy for the Seanad, will fail dismally. He hasn't done any work, registration is closed, and there are much better candidates around.
This will provide you and other critics of the campaign with endless ammunition to rubbish the efforts of those who object to the government's giveaway of the oil and gas off the west while risking the health of the people of Erris. I predict we'll never hear the end of it.
There is no doubt that cowley would be re-elected if he had stayed away from the shelltosea campaign.
While he might not have achieved much during his time as a TD, he has been vocal on a lot of issues, which should have kept him popular with the general public.
However tallyman may have a point, the public see him (rightly or wrongly) as prolonging this saga by giving it publicity, and I am sure he will lose the support of many who voted for him last time.
Now maybe it will be a double edged sword, as lots of s2s supporters will surely vote for him.
The idea of looking at his vote as a reflection of support s2s has in mayo, is also a valid point.
If a campaign was organised to portray a vote for cowley as a vote of support for s2s, then this would be a good idea as im sure cowley would be delighted with 60% of first preference votes in mayo, and it would give a true indisputable picture of the feeling among the public about the whole corrib project!
So I for one would be in favour of such a campaign.
First we need to organise how the campaign would be run, and insure there is no bias from either side, there would have to be input from all sides.
the idea of posting the idea on forums/boards would be a start, as with letters to the papers (probably better that posting on the web). local radio is also a good medium for this kind of thing.
As for Dr garavin, the electorate of mayo are not going to have any say whether he gets elected or not, so he is pretty irreverent to this discussion, to say if he fails to become elected would give "critics of the campaign endless ammunition to rubbish the efforts of those who object to the government's giveaway of the oil and gas off the west while risking the health of the people of Erris" is not correct, no more than if he did succeed would be proof the people of mayo/Ireland support s2s.
Dr Cowley himself would need to be agreeable to such a plan though wouldn't he? Have you thought of contacting him?
Shell have already poisoned the water supply in Erris thanks to massive and ever-increasing amounts of aluminium contaminated run-off which continues to pour off the Bellanaboy site untreated into Lough Carrowmore. The situation is now so bad that Mayo Co. Co. have refused to test drinking water in the area for over a year( after their last results from Autumn 2005 showed levels of Aluminium regulary exceeding EU safety levels for potable water supplies!!) in case they tally with recent indepenent tests of the water. And some people still seem to think that a study done by a company working for a multi-national giant like Shell making it anything but independent is a satifactory basis for gauging the real affects of the refinery discharges in to the terrestrial, marine and atmospheric environements of the area - Get real!!!!!!
I wonder if RSK had found against a multi-national client in the past which funded one its studies would it ever work in the field again? - Damn right it wouldn't!!! - hence the wonderfully mutually beneficial relationship it has with Shell
Why not ask the people at RSK about that one Ant?.
By the way Ant you may be interested to know that we do have many experts in the field advising S2S - including myself as a qualified ecologist with a Masters in Environmental Resource Management during the study of which I extensivly researched the health and ecological affects of elevated aluminuim levels in aquatic evironments due to extensive anthropogenic disturbance of blanket bog environments. A telling experiance to say the least !!
At last we have a self confessed expert agreeing with S2S, that at least is a step forward.
"Shell have already poisoned the water supply in Erris thanks to massive and ever-increasing amounts of aluminium contaminated run-off which continues to pour off the Bellanaboy site untreated into Lough Carrowmore"
why didn't you or one of the other "experts" with S2S submit your data to the E.P.A in the form of an objection against the proposed IPPC
Now "cool" publish the findings that show the aluminium levels in carramore lake are higher now than before site-work began, so the public can see for themselves the "scientific proof "you compiled as aquatic ecologist .
Do you have any comments on the report that the aquatic eco-toxicologist “Professor Peter Matthiessen” did for the fishermen?
Is it flawed? if so can you point out the flaws? (you being an expert).
As for asking Dr cowley for permission to have him represent the pro S2S stance in the election, don't waste your time.
He would run a mile, has anybody heard him mention S2S since the trespass onto the site!
Now "cooj j" please dont do another ostrich this time.
This is not the place for arguing with a pointless shit stirring troll like "confused local". If you're tempted, find one of the other places on the internet which is more appropriate to meaningless chat.
local, the purpose of this site is excatly what is happening, discussing /debating/informing.
maybe it is you who should find some other place, where everyone agrees with your oponion!
Figures on excessive Aluminium levels in Lough Carrowmore up to early 2006 were availiable for everyone to view on Mayo Co. Cos. website - this is common knowledge in the Erris area among people who actually tried to find the facts for themselves as opposed to swallowing the estaiblishment/shell spin on the issue. Secondly more recent disturbing figures(Feb07) on contamination eminating from the site were presented to locals at Glenemoy Hall and Paddy Maguires Pub Pullathomas last Sunday week via a very infromative power-point presentation of graphs and compelling video evidence.
You must be a very confused local indeed if you did not hear about these presentations!!!!!!!
"Figures on excessive Aluminium levels in Lough Carrowmore up to early 2006 were available for everyone to view on Mayo Co. Cos. website"
that is a well known and accepted fact, the naturally occurring levels in the lake are(and always have been) high
I personally am getting tired of the same line from the likes of cool j, if there is evidence of the pollution (by shell)you speak of, then produce it.
It cant be that difficult if it is as obvious and conclusive as you state, if you don't have such data, then please don't try to gain support for your campaign by pretending this pollution is happening.
I am not saying your lying, but show the proof and I promise I will join you in highlighting the pollution, and doing something about it!
The aluminium figures for Lough Carrowmore can be found previously published here: http://www.indymedia.ie/article/74344 and this was linked to by the feature article about the pollution of the lake which is here: http://www.indymedia.ie/article/74919
Now the previous commentator "confused local" had said in regard to the pollution of the lake.
....I am not saying your lying, but show the proof and I promise I will join you in highlighting the pollution, and doing something about it!
Will you now be helping highlight these figures? And what should we do now?
Your begining to sound rather pathetic CL. Which part of my previous post do you have problems with understanding ????- I pointed out were this information is availiable so in affect you are accusing me of lying. There was a public meeting early last year in the Broadhaven hotel Belmullet on the alarming Co. Co figures. and plenty of locals who post sensible contributions on here were at it. I understand there is another one being organised around the latest figures in the near future. Why not come along and see the light CL? - thats assuming your actually interested in the truth and not just another annoying Shell PR troll which you increasingly come across as.
In any case i will be having a chat with my good friend JM(who like myself is a genuine local and has done stirling work in highlighting this escalating serious pollution problem) on posting both the Co. Co. water test results from late 05/early 06 on here in a scientific format along with the more recent figures which as I stated earlier most genuine locals in the area are already aware of.
You got in before me mate!!
For Info: Will be meeting JM at tomorrow nights public meeting in the Broadhaven so will get cracking on providing further info for Indymedia in this issue over the next week!!
Ok I will hold my counsel, until I obtain the actual historical figures on the levels of aluminium in the lake.
I will acquire the data from the counsel /epa /nwrfb.
I will get as much data as possible, going back as many years as possible.
If we have been drinking water polluted with aluminium for two years because of shells site-works then there is questions to answer.
Why didn't you/JM or anyone else publish data comparing and confirming the increase in the aluminium levels "after" sitework began?
I seen the data post on link http://www.indymedia.ie/article/74344 and I am not disputing it.
It covers from 08/05 to 01/06, I asked then and several times since "compare the figures to data prior to sitework beginning and then we have a true picture of the impact of the site- work.
Publish data going back years/decades and compare them, that is how you determine shells impact.
Just on a side issiue, cool j you claim to be an "qualified ecologist with a Masters in Environmental Resource Management".
I asked you before do you have any comment on the report by the aquatic eco-toxicologist “Professor Peter Matthiessen” ?
Was he bought by shell? if so maybe you "as an expert" in a similar field would point out the inaccuracies/falsehoods in that report, so we/you can prove that his conclusion that the discharge to sea will have ""NO"" serious impact on the marine environment,or the fishing actives around Erris are wrong?
I will post all the historical data on aluminium levels in carramore lake I can find, as soon as I receive them!
P.s please dont do a runner. (again)
I think it is too early to start a campaign to have a link between cowley,s vote and support for S to S.
The campaing will have got boring before the election.
I think the idea could work as both pro ant anti S toS would use the oppurtunity to make their voice heard.
But my advice is let it lie until a few weeks before the election..
Well i was at the public meeting last night attended by over 200 locals at which anyone could put any questions to local ShelltoSea people. Interestingly both the twits above were conspicious by their abscence. Why because for Shell puppets like CL the truth hurts, now that he he has been proven wrong over the water(even more disturbing evidence on contamination of Lough Carrowmore came to light last night) he's moved on to talking crap about hard-done by multi nationals. Well that sort of cretanious attitude is certainly coming home to roost in this country as one by one multi-national companies are already pulling out of ireland and taking all their jobs with them to cheaper economies, along with all the grants the got from irish tax-payers. This brings into even sharper focus the failure of this country to properly develope its own indigenious industries and natural resources for the benefit of the irish people
Your pig-ignorance on the pipe-line issue is also very sad. Running the pipe line up the very narrow Sruwaddon bay(which by the way will mean tearing the guts out of this very important SAC and Sea-Trout fishery) will actually take it even closer to some houses since the bay at its mouth is barely 100 yards wide and is right next to a public road with many dwellings both on the Rossport and Pullathomas side. With strong scouring rip currents forced through the mouth of the bay the danger of the pipe being ruptured is even greater particulary given Shell's world-wide record of negligiance in the proper maintaince of such infrostructure.
PS - CL why don't you provide a link to this Professors report you keep banging on about and let everyone see the exact details of how this study was conducted and more importantly who paid for it ??
If you were a genuine supporter Paul you would know that! -
1) Cassels canvassed for the FF candidate with Noel Dempsey in the last Meath by-election 3 years ago so was hardly a wise choice as an independent mediator
2) Claimed in his report that both locals and Mayo people in general supported the current project which poll after poll as well as a local petition has showed is untrue
3) Held one brief meeting with local people at the ShelltoSea HQ at which he was none to keen to discuss any of the substantive issues.
4) The terms of reference of the mediation precluded any discussion of the many safer alternative Corrib field development options
5) As regards Shell - How can you negoitiate with people like Andy Pyle who lied on RTE cameras as to what Shell were willing to discuss at the mediation i.e Intially claiming everthing was up for discussion and then ruling out any change in the Corrib development project 2 weeks later.
As regards this nonsense about outsiders causing trouble - the only outsiders causing trouble are Shell and the bus-loads of Rambo cops from around the country( who have assaulted, harrassed and intimidated local people at will for the last 5 months giving a flavour of what goes on in the Niger Delta with Shell and their state thugs!!)
Cool j, I read the report on the Epa website, it is included with the objection from the lobster-fishermen "http://www.epa.ie/licences/lic_eDMS/090151b28015abb1.pdf"
What that report highlights to me is the fact that there will be no independent monitoring of the environemental affects of the marine discharges from the bellanaboy terminal. It also highlights the fact that the EPA have granted Shell's operating licence on the basis of information provided to it by Shell. This is simply ludicrious given the fact that Shell continue to lie about the contamination of Lough Carrowmore despite Mayo Co. Co. and more recent tests proving otherwise.
PS - Are you seriously suggesting CL that local people should be satisfied by the fact that a company with an environmental and safety record like Shell will alone will be reponsible for monitoring their own discharges and there affect on the local environment???????????
I am simply saying that the report by a"expert" hired and paid for by the local fishermen is saying that the discharge will "not" cause serious harm even if it was discharged untreated!
Do you as another "expert" have any inaccuracies to point out in the report?
Is he lying, Is he qualified to predict the effect of the discharge, anything in there that is false or misleading?
Once again you have resorted to petty name-calling instead of addressing the issue. You obviously haven't read the report yourself since the Professor himself makes clear that his finding are based solely on what Shell say will happen in their EPA submition. There has and apparently will not be any independent monitoring or testing of any of Shell's claims in this submition. Indeed the Professor points out a number of signficant short-comings in the way Shell propose to monitor any adverse affects of discharges on marine benethic communities on which the entire ecosystem of Broadhaven bay depends, not to mention its valuable shellfish, aquaculture and inshore fishing industry.
It may be you cool j who hasnt read the report...
In his intruduction (page 3) the professor states.....
"The information provided therein will be compared with the characteristics and effects of waters produced from other gas fields, and the impacts predicted in the planning application will be compared with internationally available information on the toxicity of the produced water’s components. The objective of this report is therefore to assess whether the predicted characteristics and effects of the produced water (the latter claimed in the IPPC application and offshore environmental impact statement [EIS] to be negligible) are credible in the light of international experience with other gas field discharges."
Well pointed out M, cool j seems to have a ability to be selective in what he remembers.
Now that you have been corrected COOL can you point out any inaccuracies (as a qualified ecologist with a Masters in Environmental Resource Management ).
If so please tell us, and someone can inform the idiots that paid him good money to do the report.
AS the professor constantly points out throughout the report the responsiblity for monitoring the affects of pollutants from treated and/or untreated discharges rests soley with Shell. All information on any waste treatment processes comes from Shell. All information on the standards of waste treatment/operation/maintainance of relevant equipment comes from Shell . The professor assumes at all times that best european standards and practices will be followed hence his releliance on data from the North Sea gas installations when it comes to discharges into the marine environment which interestingly are all located out to sea, similarily is relation to data presented in the case of US best practice. The EPA itself freely admits it is in no position to verify any of Shells claims in this regard.
In the case of a system breakdown/failure(which by the way is a regular occurance in nearly every Shell refinaery world-wide) which would involve the discharge of a large amount of toxic pollutants into Broadhaven bay all at once it would be up to Shell to remedy the situation, shut down production until problem is sorted and alert the authorities as is pointed out in the report. How likely is it this proceedure will be followed in the light of the ongoing cover-up by Shell in relation to aluminium run-off currently pouring off the Bellanaboy site into Carrowmore lake, while the so-called statuatary bodies such as Mayo Co. Co. and the NWFB stand idily by despite their own figures showing alarming levels of contamination in the lake!!
To conclude, this report as pointed out by its author and the individuals who commisioned it highlights that there will be no independent testing or monitoring of any discharges from the proposed refinery. This is particualry worrying in light of documents from the Dept of Marine suggesting that the Bellanaboy refinery is likely to expand its operations in the future as further gas fields nearby are developed by Shell and their partners. Self-regulation is not considered a satisfactory state of affairs in nearly every facet of life and it certainly is not tenable when applied to a company with Shells record. Nothing in this report changes that salient fact. If it did the persons who commissioned the study would not have submitted such an objection to the EPA.
cool j says
"his releliance on data from the North Sea gas installations when it comes to discharges into the marine environment which interestingly are all located out to sea
if you read it, he says that the tidal conditions of erris will give even greater dilution.
"The EPA itself freely admits it is in no position to verify any of Shells claims in this regard."
Im sure they cant predict the future, but the IPPC licence will cap the amount of pollutants discharged (or did you not realise that).
"In the case of a system breakdown/failure(which by the way is a regular occurrence in nearly every Shell refinaery world-wide) which would involve the discharge of a large amount of toxic pollutants into Broadhaven bay all at once it would be up to Shell to remedy the situation, shut down production until problem is sorted and alert the authorities as is pointed out in the report. How likely is it this proceedure will be followed in the light of the ongoing cover-up by Shell in relation to aluminium run-off currently pouring off the Bellanaboy site into Carrowmore lake".
"this report as pointed out by its author and the individuals who commisioned it highlights that there will be no independent testing or monitoring of any discharges from the proposed refinery. This is particualry worrying in light of documents from the Dept of Marine suggesting that the Bellanaboy refinery is likely to expand its operations in the future as further gas fields nearby are developed by Shell and their partners. Self-regulation is not considered a satisfactory state of affairs in nearly every facet of life and it certainly is not tenable when applied to a company with Shells record. Nothing in this report changes that salient fact. If it did the persons who commissioned the study would not have submitted such an objection to the EPA.".
That is probably why the lobster-fishermen are insisting on independent monitoring. (even though the prof says even with such a release there would be no serious pollution).
To conclude Did you(as an expert) find anything in the report (which states the discharge will pose "NO" serious risk to the marine environment) which you find inaccurate/false.
I'm not going to repeat myself for a Shell troll who's a bit slow on the up-take. The professor has already pointed that this report is based on information received from Shell without any prospect of independent monitoring or verification of how the plant will operate during its proposed existance - nuff said!!!
"The professor has already pointed that this report is based on information received from Shell"
actually he says "will be compared with internationally available information on the toxicity of the produced water’s components"
I think we can take that you (as an expert) cannot find "one" thing in the whole report that you know to be false.
So that makes two experts who concur that this discharge will "not" cause serious pollution!
You know I am no troll, and just because you keep saying it wont make it true,
Now you produce even one expert, who even suggests that the discharge will cause the catastrophe S2S are predicting!
Despite the report containing passages such as “Gas production waters are often more contaminated than those emanating from oilfields” and “Chronic toxicity data (e.g. effects on growth and reproduction) are not available for gas production water” which would suggest that Broadhaven bay and it environs are being subject to a pretty major experiment with potentially unknown or unquantified results, I accept the report for what it is - a fair analysis of what is contained in Shell's own EIS as submitted to the EPA. It should also be pointed that a number of the reports recommondations arising out of this analysis have not yet been accepted by Shell.
In any case reports and recommondations are only of any use if they are actually implemented under a rigourious and independent monitoring regime. This is were the major problem lies. These vital tenents are simply not present in the current Corrib gas onshore proposal since Shell and Shell alone will be reponsible for the implementation of any EPA recommondations or any other recommondations such as those present in Prof Mathiessen's report(see relevant section on recommondations in report). As I have pointed out time and time again Shell's ongoing cover-up of pollution in Carrowmore lake(regions drinking supply ) caused by their operations at the Bellanaboy refinery site serves to highlight the utter folly of Shell alone policing their day to day operations in relation to pollution control without any independent oversight.
People should check out their appalling international record in this regard too!! - constantly trying to hoodwink the relevant authorities through the use of bogus safety records etc.
I wonder what "John J. Stachowicz Assistant Professor of Evolution and Ecology University of California" would make of this report, it would definetly be worth geting his oponion as he is well qualified.