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Report back on Glengad Day of Action - 9th May 2009

category mayo | environment | news report author Monday May 11, 2009 20:50author by d - Rossport Solidarity Camp Report this post to the editors

May 9th, 2009 saw a successful Day of Action in the fight against Shell. Although the illegal fences in the Glengad compound still stand, the peoples' action on Saturday made a statement – the people of Erris will continue to say no to the Corrib gas project, and supporters of their struggle will continue to travel to stand alongside them.
Guardians of the Peace: Not by force of arms or NUMBERS
Guardians of the Peace: Not by force of arms or NUMBERS

After a week of unseasonably heavy winds and rain, the sunshine on Saturday morning seemed like a sign of good luck for the planned Day of Action. Supporters from Clare, Cork, Donegal, Dublin, and Galway trickled in to the Rossport Solidarity Camp throughout the day.

Gardai and IRMS security guards also began to gather in the area. Around 4pm, Gardai set up checkpoints on either side of the village of Glengad. Anyone heading to the Shell compound in Glengad other than residents of the village – including locals living in different villages in the area – was told to park and go on by foot. The only exceptions made to this rule were the Integrated Risk Management Services security guards, whose transport vehicles were allowed to drive through.

A local resident and Shell to Sea campaigner challenged the legality of the roadblock in Pullathomas and attempted to push past it to allow a supporter's car to pass through. He was arrested, and released later that same day.

Despite the roadblocks and heavy police presence, by the planned gathering time of 6 pm a crowd of over 70 people had gathered near the Shell compound in Glengad. Over the next hour the group grew to approximately 120 as car loads of people walked from the checkpoints to the gathering place. The general mood was calm and social as people milled about chatting and planning. There was a bit of nervous tension as people looked down into the compound and saw the large numbers of Gardai and security guards.

As the crowd grew, someone suggested that everyone gather in and form a circle to make a plan. Two groups were formed. One group walked down the field to the beach, around the side of the compound closer to the cliff face – near where the fences were pulled the week before. The other group walked past the front gates, to a field on the other side of the compound and pulled at fences near where Willie Corduff was attacked two weeks ago.

One group walked along the cliff face, avoiding the high tide, to arrive at a section of fencing near the cliff. Thick wire ropes were thrown up onto the fence and the group pulled. Security guards were better prepared this week than last week, when they produced a saw and a utility knife and recklessly reached through the fences to cut the ropes. Security guards produced bolt cutters and began to cut the ropes. Despite the relatively small threat posed by the protesters, guards were alarmingly rough with people near the fence, causing several injuries and much bruising. Gardai arrived shortly after the ropes were cut and formed a line between protesters and the fence. A woman who sustained injuries attempted to read the number of the security guard who bent her finger backwards and pinned her arm against the fence, but Gardai pushed the group away from the fence.

As soon as the other group walked down the field, a line of Gardai formed – nearly as many Gardai as protesters. A number of chains were thrown up, and the fences were pulled at for a few minutes before security guards cut the chains and Gardai closed the line in front of the fence. One person was punched in the stomach by a Garda and several others sustained injuries to their hands.

At this point, five people were arrested. Two were arrested on public order charges of obstruction, two for breach of the peace, and one on criminal damage charges for possession of items with an intent to damage property. Another person was arrested on criminal damage charges later in the day. They were detained in a Garda van on the Shell compound for two hours before being brought to Ballina where they waited another four hours to be processed.

After the fence pulling attempts were over, people stayed in the area for another hour or two. Some of the barbed wire fencing was removed again, and the Gardai were repeatedly told in detail exactly what the local people think of them for protecting Shell's construction site rather than the people of Ireland.

As the group slowly trickled back up the field, followed by an equal number of Gardai, five or six young local men turned back around and sprinted down the field and around the construction site, followed by shouts of support, then other runners, then a slightly startled group of Gardai. This extra burst of energy late in the day expressed the general mood around this Day of Action – this is a group of people who will not give up, who will not tire, who will face all odds in this struggle. In the end, everyone left as they arrived – peacefully, and in good spirits after having successfully built momentum for the upcoming weeks of resistance.

Latest Glengad work

Shell have ramped up in their work at Glengad in the last 2 days. Yesterday a suction dredger, the HAM 311 owned by Van Oord began working in Broadhaven bay. There are currently also 2 jack-up barges moored off Ballyglass pier. On the site in Glengad they are currently constructing the fencing to extend down onto the beach which will probably be attempted in the coming days.

So if you are thinking of coming to the area, now is definitely the time.

Community in Mourning

The local community is in mourning after the death early Saturday morning of Stephen Conway of Inver. Stephen is the son of Kathleen and Val Conway and a nephew of Shell to Sea spokesperson Terence Conway. Stephen was killed in a car crash near Belmullet along with Garda Terry Devers.

Related Link: http://www.shelltosea.com

Community & supporters gather
Community & supporters gather

Shell snakes out!!
Shell snakes out!!



author by dpublication date Mon May 11, 2009 20:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors


Throwing a spanner in the works
Throwing a spanner in the works


Maura & the public order unit
Maura & the public order unit


Related Link: http://www.shelltosea.com
author by Volunteer - Campaigns Irelandpublication date Mon May 11, 2009 21:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Statement from Bishop Desmond Tutu

"As patron of the justice and peace organisation Afri, a disturbing development in the ongoing resource conflict in Erris, County Mayo, has been brought to my attention."
"A peaceful protestor, Goldman International Environmental Award Winner Mr.
Willie Corduff has been physically attacked, under cover of darkness, by the
agents of a multinational corporation, resulting in his being hospitalised and
left severely hurt and traumatised.

I am aware that the conflict centres around attempts by a consortium comprised
of Shell, Statoil and Marathon to bring raw gas ashore in Erris, by means of a
high-pressure pipeline running through the community, to a processing plant at

This is opposed by local people, particularly in the parish of Kilcommon where
the project is based, because of fears for their health and safety (including
possible contamination of their drinking water).

A compromise proposed by three members of the Catholic clergy and supported by
a majority of people in the locality, would have seen an onshore processing
plant located in an unpopulated area away from the community's water supply,
eliminating the need for high pressure pipelines.

This proposed compromise has, unfortunately, been rejected by Shell and the
lrish government.

The strength of feeling in the community regarding this issue is illustrated by
the fact that five people, who became known as the Rossport 5, spent 94 days in
prison for their non-violent opposition to the project going ahead in its
current form. Mr. Corduff, one of the Rossport 5, went on to win the
prestigious Goldman international environmental award, known as the Green Nobel
Prize, in 2005.

It is in regard to the attack on Mr. Corduff that I particularly wish to make
my concerns known. Mr. Corduff is a small farmer who has lived all his life and
raised his family in this area. His only interest and motivation is the
protection of his family and the welfare of his community. His opposition to
the gas project has always been entirety peacefuI and non-violent."



Goldman International Prize: info + video on Willie Corduff

Willie Corduff on BBC World: + video

Willie Corduff on Late Late show

Independent background report on Corrib gas


Related Link: http://www.shelltosea.com
author by Local resident.publication date Mon May 11, 2009 22:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

If you were at the Day of Action and took photos or video footage, please add them to this article.

And thank you all for coming and showing your support.

Don't forget the upcoming June Bank Holiday Gathering at the Rossport Solidarity Camp. See here: http://www.indymedia.ie/article/92076

author by Davepublication date Tue May 12, 2009 02:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The National Day of Action in Erris over the weekend brought people from all over the country. This video records some of the events of the day.
What summed up the day for me was a Garda with a Crime Scene Investigator (CSI) badge on his uniform. He spent his time with a camera pointed at the people gathered around to protest and with his back to the compound. The same compound where, if Shell get their way, the theft of €50bn of Irish gas will shortly begin and the money will start flowing into the Shell trough. At a time when hospitals are closing down and special needs assistants are being withdrawn from schools this is by far the greatest and most damaging robbery in the history of the state.

Caption: Video Id: 4601745 Type: Vimeo
National Day of Action

author by lulupublication date Tue May 12, 2009 07:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Thanks to the Archbishop for his attention. It was a disgraceful attack on Mr Corduff, who has always been a peaceful and courageous spokesman for the campaign. Beatings and imprisonment have not broken the will of the people to defeat this ill-conceived project which steals the resources of the people of Ireland, and threatens life, land, and health in Erris.

author by Fred Johnstonpublication date Tue May 12, 2009 12:28author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I see that The Irish Mail yesterday played up the presence last weekend of Republicans sympathisers and are among a number of media outlets trying to label the protests as having been hijacked. The Mail went further and asked for protestors to be rounded up and jailed, as I recall. You need to be careful here, because the Right-wing interests in the media will pounce at any opportunity to undermine the campaign.

author by lulupublication date Tue May 12, 2009 12:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The long arm of the law is protecting an illegal compound.

author by Cpublication date Tue May 12, 2009 14:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There is a story in the examiner today entitled "Over a third of security workers are not vetted"


which mentions the concerns over the IRMS security in Glengad.

However this morning on RTE, Aine Lawlor conducted what can only be called a non-interview with Geraldine Larkin, CEO of the Private Security Authority and never once mentioned Glengad or Bolivia or an hypothetical situation of some dodgy right-wing paramilitary group members working in the midst of a rural community in western Ireland and then going to supposedly assassinate the head of a South American country.


Related Link: http://www.rte.ie/news/2009/0512/morningireland_av.html?2541521,null,209
author by Extraordinarily Wise Manpublication date Tue May 12, 2009 15:15author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"I am aware that the conflict centres around attempts by a consortium comprised
of Shell, Statoil and Marathon to bring raw gas ashore in Erris, by means of a
high-pressure pipeline running through the community, to a processing plant at

Such pipelines have been running underneath most cities in the developed world for decades without harming anybody.

There is a spiders web of them throughout Europe.

If you are in a largeish city there is a good chance there is one very close to you.

Western European Gas Map:



author by Andrewpublication date Tue May 12, 2009 15:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Nope those pipelines are (mostly) processed, purified and pressure controlled gas that is post-refinery. The Erris pipeline is dangerous because it is none of these things (and actually those pipelines also occasionally explode). It's also experimental in that a number of its features, including the possible pressure it will carry, are not in routine usage even with pre-refinery pipes. The 'Shell to Sea' (refine the gas at sea) demand exists precisely because people understand the difference between those two types of pipeline.

author by James Kellypublication date Tue May 12, 2009 16:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Who would live near a mega pressure gas pipe that carries raw ergo ODOURLESS GAS ?

Hardly a wise man or woman.

The reality that the gas in this pipe would be free from odour is not a widley known fact. Me thinks this particular issue should be more widley spread through the websites and info networks around the country.

Bord Gais broadcasts an advertisement on radio on the issue of methane. It includes in the broadcast the information that "You cannot smell" the substance and that it is thus : "Deadly".

Such laudable, safety concerns by the authorities, do not, unfortunately and incredibly, apply to the citizens of North Mayo. You couldn't make this stuff up.

Good to see D Tu Tu statement.

Does anyone know if it was carried by any of the state or corporate media ?

author by Extraordinarly Wise Man.publication date Tue May 12, 2009 21:28author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The "safety" argument is fatuous.
The OWNERSHIP argument is valid.

The gas industry is extraordinarly safe by ANY standards.
(That does not mean that it is 100% safe....nothing on planet Earth is 100% safe.)

I remember NO reports of mass deaths by such shoreline gas pipelines exploding last year...I would like to be corrected if I'm wrong.
(Even the Moscow explosion and inferno last Sunday killed nobody..though that was luck.)

Consider for a minute a truly lethal industry.....the car industry.
Cars kill more than 1.2 million people worldwide every single year year.(Almost certainly more.)

See this link:

115 people are killed on American roads every single DAY.
One person dies on American roads every 13 minutes......right now someone is dying in a crashed American car.

The very cars the protesters drive in to protest about the safety of the pipeline are much more likely to kill or maim them than any gas pipeline..........by several orders of magnitude.

Gas pipelines are provento be very safe,from high pressure pipes to low pressure pipes.
How many of the protesters have a mains gas cooker?

As for Oil and Gas deaths.

The article in this link deals with American oil and gas worker deaths:


Many of them were killed by being hit by machinery,especially cars and trucks,not by gas.
"This report describes the results of that analysis, which indicated that increases in oil and gas extraction activity were correlated with an increase in the rate of fatal occupational injuries in this industry, with an annual fatality rate of 30.5 per 100,000 workers (404 fatalities) during 2003--2006, approximately seven times the rate for all workers (4.0 per 100,000 workers) (4). Nearly half of all fatal injuries among these workers were attributed to highway motor-vehicle crashes and workers being struck by machinery or equipment."


In the UK more than 1000 people die every year just by falling down the stairs.

Adjusting for population that would mean its around 80 Irish people died similarly.
Perhaps we should ban staircases.

author by Ibhar Mac Suibhnepublication date Tue May 12, 2009 21:50author email author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Well actually there is no need for Ireland to give away the revenues from our gas at all, the deal with Shell is based on old knowledge and a different economic situation. We should rewrite the deal with Shell just like the Russians have done with Shell in Sakhalin Island, Eastern Siberia (either you do it our way, or get out!)

It has been proven by the Spirit of Ireland Group ( http://www.spiritofireland.org/ ) the the Corrib gas field is not of that much strategic importance at all.

Our true natural resource is wind and wave energy and we can harness this resource to provide total energy independence within 5 years! And start exporting energy within 10!

At this stage the Corrib gas field is:

1) Serving a wealthy minority in Ireland and a Multinational corporation with a terrible record on Human rights and environmental law.
2) Destroying our communities and national unity.
3) Will produce green house gases.
4) Is destroying an area of national beauty.

I believe we should be pushing to rewrite the deal in its entirety with Shell.
After all Ireland Inc' needs the revenue. Why should we be giving it away to Shell?

I challenge anyone to dispute these facts mentioned here.

Ibhar Mac Suibhne

author by slunkopublication date Wed May 13, 2009 00:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

some pictures from the day

notice lack of Guarda number, this Guard was asked repeatedly why he had no number, didn`t bother him
notice lack of Guarda number, this Guard was asked repeatedly why he had no number, didn`t bother him

Compound as of  May 9th - fast workers
Compound as of May 9th - fast workers


there is a girl under the Guarda
there is a girl under the Guarda


author by slunkopublication date Wed May 13, 2009 00:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors



author by Extradordinarily Wise Manpublication date Wed May 13, 2009 08:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I agree about almost everything you say Igor except for this:

"4) Is destroying an area of national beauty. "

With only a minimal amount of landscaping (with local shrubs and furze etc.) that pipeline will effortlessly "disappear" into the landscape.
The part coming out of the sea will have no more visual impact than any of the hundreds of piers already in Mayo.

Consider the pig-ugly telephone poles and wires and electricity poles and wires criss crossing the Mayo landscape.
They are hideously ugly and a REAL blight on the landscape but Mayo people are so used to them that they don't even see them any more.

As for the distance from nearby houses...
Quote from a letter in today's Irish Times:

".....onshore section of pipeline through Rossport to replace an original legally sanctioned one which was no less than 70 metres from the nearest house. Despite the fact that it was deemed safe by independent experts Advantica, it has been decided to move it 140 metres from nearest house – in the Netherlands the nearest is five metres."

As we all know,the Dutch are a fanatically clean and environmentally and safety conscious nation.

The argument should be about OWNERSHIP,not safety.

author by Andrewpublication date Wed May 13, 2009 10:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The 'compromise' of moving the pipeline form 70m of houses to 140m of houses sounds good. But the probable fireball radius of an explosion has been estimated at 200m so the move is insignificant, you'd still be inside the fireball. There are no high pressure experimental gas pipelines of this nature in the Netherlands so that 5m figure is not comparing like with like.

It is true more people are killed on the roads. The comparison is also meaningless because they are not killed on the roads of Rossport. A pipeline explosion could kill a large proportion of the village, a road crash couldn't. There are not dozens of road fatalities annually in Rossport.

All that said of course safety isn't the only issue - the fact that billions in royalities were waived by a politican (Ray Burke) who was subsequently jailed for taking bribes should be of concern on the day we are told that hospital wards and theaters are being closed due to lack of funding. A pipeline explosion in Rossport would 'only' kill the locals, leaving the rest of you to worry about getting run over. The loss of hospital services could kill any of us. This campaign fights both.

author by cablepublication date Wed May 13, 2009 12:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Take a look at Shell's track record on Health & Safety in Nigeria.

author by swpublication date Wed May 13, 2009 13:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Here is a link to (retired Garda) Brendan Cafferty's letter to The Times:


Details of how to end a response here: http://www.irishtimes.com/about/p_letters.htm

author by declanpublication date Wed May 13, 2009 23:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Is this the same Brendan Cafferty that had this letter carried in the Western People?


A very good response to his letter was also published the following week


author by Miriampublication date Thu May 14, 2009 10:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It's worth knowing that Peter Murtagh has editorial responsibility for it! Explains something, does it not?

author by Noddypublication date Thu May 14, 2009 13:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Here he is again. http://www.shell.com/home/Framework?siteId=ie-en&FC2=/i....html
He is secretary of the illusive pro-gas group???

And why does he describe himself as unemployed if he is retired and drawing a state pension?

author by James Kellypublication date Thu May 14, 2009 16:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

All the more reason to be advertising the websites on leaflets, stickers, every opportunity --and on posters, -- there is a lot of them about at the moment .

I'm sure their blank backs and some of their front covers would not suffer from the publication of the websites.

I'm also sure many of the candidates would appreciate the info provided they did not obscure relevant print for the making of their pitch to the public.

The positive is the sites, including indymedia, have a vast arsenal of information which state/corporate media will never publish as their stock in trade is in the main, pap and misinformation.

author by Mayomanpublication date Thu May 14, 2009 17:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Mr Cafferty is a rather sad attention seeker who when not spreading lies on behalf of Shell writes letters in praise of the British army, Orange order and Black and Tans activities in this country down through the years.

author by Cpublication date Fri May 15, 2009 13:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Here 2 pictures of injuries caused to one of the protestors last Saturday by IRMS security. Her right arm was pinned up against the fence while her left arm was hit repeatedly and her fingers bent backwards.



author by cpublication date Fri May 15, 2009 13:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors



author by Michael Gallagher - Photographerpublication date Sun May 17, 2009 13:23author email libertypics at yahoo dot ieauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

My apologies for the delayed posting.
(With all the running, climbing and jumping on the day, I injured my back.)

One of the Garda roadblocks set up on both sides of Glengad.  Notice the campaign supporters in the foreground walking the rest of the way to the action location. Only locals were allowed drive through, other vehicles had to be left at roadblock.
One of the Garda roadblocks set up on both sides of Glengad. Notice the campaign supporters in the foreground walking the rest of the way to the action location. Only locals were allowed drive through, other vehicles had to be left at roadblock.





author by .publication date Sun May 17, 2009 13:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors




The next five pics were taken with the smaller group on at the beach side of the fence.
The next five pics were taken with the smaller group on at the beach side of the fence.



author by .publication date Sun May 17, 2009 13:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors







author by .publication date Sun May 17, 2009 13:40author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Last three photos.

More photo essays and links from previous action days:





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