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Work Stopped at Shell's Illegal Construction Site

category mayo | crime and justice | feature author Thursday October 15, 2009 11:54author by Jen Debender - Rossport Solidarity Camp Report this post to the editors

When asked about the legality of Shell's construction works, a garda replied 'Irrelevant'

featured image
It might take more than a car to stop Shell,
but it's a start

This morning the 14 October, a local resident blocked the entrance gate to a Shell construction site for which there is no planning permission, refusing to move until some proof that Shell's actions are legal were provided.

Local people noticed that Shell works were underway in Aughoose, Pullatomish this Monday 12 October (http://www.indymedia.ie/article/94428), despite the fact that Shell has not received planning permission for the onshore pipeline from An Bord Pleanála (which is due on or before 23 October). Today (14 October) a local resident blocked the entrance gate to the site with her car for two hours. A Shell tractor sat on the other side of the gate unable to move this whole time, with a handful of IRMS security standing around the tractor and filming the people who had gathered on the public road.

The local person blocking the gate rang the Gardaí informing them that there is work going on without planning permission, and asked them to come investigate. They had not yet been informed by IRMS or Shell that work was being stopped. When Garda Conway MY169 and MY288 arrived on the scene, they were only interested in facilitating the work. They did not address the person who had made the call to them, but went first to the IRMS Shell security on the other side of the gate. Immediately they ordered the driver to move her vehicle, without questioning the legality of the construction work.

The site in Aughoose is where the proposed route of the pipeline crosses back over the estuary from Rossport South towards the refinery at Bellanaboy. It is Shell's privately owned land, but just like anyone else constructing on private land, they need to have planning permission. They have not yet received planning permission from An Bord Pleanála for the onshore pipeline, and there are no notices from Mayo County Council displayed at the site showing permission. They are drilling at the bottom of the field next to the estuary, with a small section of fencing encircling the drill. The only signs up on the fencing read 'Danger' and 'Construction Site' and the like. This is not clearly visible from the road at the top of the field.

The Gardaí who arrived on the scene did not even pretend to investigate the legality of Shell's works, but said they have reason to believe that it is an 'exempted development.' Garda Greg Burke, MY165 informed the driver that she was blocking a private entrance and that if she did not move her car, it would be towed away. She explained that she had lawful excuse for parking her car there, because she was blocking illegal construction. Her lawful excuse, “while acting in accordance with article 93 of Bunreacht na háireann is that this site does not have planning permission for any construction activity from the local authority nor does it have planning permission from An Bord Planála.” She said that she would not move her vehicle until she saw proof of planning permission. Garda Burke responded by telling the driver 'you may make a peaceful protest from another position.'

The guards then attached her car to the Garda car and began pushing people away from the driver's car. The Garda car started moving forward even though there were people on and in front of the car being towed. Only when Garda Noel Brett (in plainclothes) got his foot stuck under the tyre and a local person shouted at the Garda driving the vehicle to stop did the Garda car stop. The guards were able to tow the vehicle far enough for the gate to open and the Shell tractor to exit the field, then proceeded to park a Garda car in front of the gate (blocking a private entrance).

Some further investigation (certainly not by An Garda Síochána) shows that Shell are in fact drilling on this private land, which drains into the adjacent Sruth Fhada Chonn estuary SAC and SPA (Special Area of Conservation & Special Protected area). Whether Shell's arrogance to start this work comes out of the assured knowledge that they will get the planning permission or as a way to test how far they can take it before any authorities question their actions is unknown. What is clear is that if Shell are not even waiting for planning permission, they won't wait long after it is granted to start pushing through the onshore pipeline without local consent.

Refusing to move until proof of planning permission is shown
Refusing to move until proof of planning permission is shown

A frustrated Shell worker
A frustrated Shell worker

Contruction site with no planning permission
Contruction site with no planning permission

The IRMS, protecting illegal works
The IRMS, protecting illegal works

Caption: Video Id: Hn_H4xzxSEw Type: Youtube Video
Gardaí turn blind eye to Shell

Caption: Video Id: kT9-EJ-1yMg Type: Youtube Video
Shell drilling illegally in County Mayo

author by Jen Debenderpublication date Thu Oct 15, 2009 00:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors


Where did they get the Mayo County Council cones, since Mayo County Council hasn't given permission for this work?
Where did they get the Mayo County Council cones, since Mayo County Council hasn't given permission for this work?

Explaing the lawful excuse for blocking the entrance
Explaing the lawful excuse for blocking the entrance

Nationalise Corrib Gas
Nationalise Corrib Gas

garda Conway MY169 is not happy
garda Conway MY169 is not happy

Towing the car
Towing the car

author by Jen Debenderpublication date Thu Oct 15, 2009 00:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Speak for themselves






author by Jen Debenderpublication date Thu Oct 15, 2009 00:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

More photos

Plainclothes garda Noel Brett speaking with his mates (IRMS) after towing the vehicle
Plainclothes garda Noel Brett speaking with his mates (IRMS) after towing the vehicle

The garda car blocking a private entrance
The garda car blocking a private entrance



author by míol mórpublication date Thu Oct 15, 2009 01:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Drilling in construction site without permission started, picture from aroun 5 o`clock 14th october


author by FSB!publication date Thu Oct 15, 2009 03:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Well done to all involved for this act of defiance against the Shell and Garda bullies. Shell are getting really arrogant about what they believe they can get away with. Here's hoping we can line them up for a fall sometime soon! Keep taking them on, and love and solidarity to you all!

author by observerpublication date Thu Oct 15, 2009 06:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I would be grateful if i could be told under what current legislation a private company may use instruments of surveillance such as cameras for filming. A new Bill which took 10 years in the making does not indicate that other than approved and authorised State personnel may do so and in very restricted circumstances governed by rules as to how long and where such films may be kept.

author by Brianpublication date Thu Oct 15, 2009 10:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There is (as far as I know) no "Article 93 of Bunreacht na hEireann" -- and consequently the "acting in accordance with article 93 of Bunreacht na háireann" statement in the main text above needs to corrected I suspect?

Great though that there was physical resistance to what seems to be yet another frightening example of Shell very arrogantly committing crime with impunity.

Even more frightening of course is the way our police appear to be actually HELPING Shell to commit such a pernicious form of crime: despite all the negative things that the United Nation (and others) have to say on this very threatening subject.

According to Wikipedia (for example), "In the international law of human rights, it (i.e. "impunity") refers to the failure to bring perpetrators of human rights violations to justice and, as such, itself constitutes a denial of the victims' right to justice and redress" -- taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impunity

I wonder if our garda (police) have ever heard, or have ANY idea whatsoever, about impunity: and its shocking social implications?

author by Starstruckpublication date Thu Oct 15, 2009 10:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Usual bullshit from Shell and cronies
Well done for the resistance

author by Libertypublication date Thu Oct 15, 2009 13:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"When the People fear the Government, you have TYRANNY. When the Government fear the People, you have LIBERTY". (Quote attributed to former US President Thomas Jefferson.)

author by Elisapublication date Thu Oct 15, 2009 14:20author address author phone Report this post to the editors

In solidarity from Canada, well done!

author by Darraghpublication date Thu Oct 15, 2009 14:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Love and solidarity to all

author by Maura Harrington - S2S; Davitt Leaguepublication date Thu Oct 15, 2009 15:12author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Brian is right but the Alt/Art of the Bunreacht/Constitution upon which I rely and with which I strive to comply is, as stated, Alt 9.3/Art 9.3 which states that fidelity to the nation and loyalty to the state are primary duties of citizens (paraphrase since I don't have copy in front of me).

I don't think that any intelligent person would find it difficult to agree that acting in defence of Place and highlighting the corporate theft of our natural resources wealth facilitated by FF/Green suits is anything other than in accordance with the demands of Alt 9.3/Art 9.3 - be it aspirational or not; it remains until removed/amended by referendum (if that hasn't already happened with Lisbon 2).

author by Brianpublication date Thu Oct 15, 2009 15:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Thanks Maura.

I've looked it up and it is Article 9.2 in fact, which reads:

"Fidelity to the nation and loyalty to the State are fundamental political duties of all citizens."

Apart from the odd one here and there perhaps, I have long been finding it difficult to see how the general body of our "elected representatives" (so called) could ever, during the past decade or two, claim to have any kind of meaningful relationship with this principle.

Similarly (in my view) with regard to our police, and indeed our legal profession as well: particularly our judges.

It really does look to me that our nation is still in "a terrible state of chassis" -- and "getting worse, and worse, and worser" by the week.

author by Maura Harrington - S2S; Davitt Leaguepublication date Thu Oct 15, 2009 16:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Slightly! It was 9.2 before some referendum or other, now 9.3 - not being awkward but it's that type of attention to detail which has been a mark of the S2S campaign to date particularly at the beginning with regard to dissecting second/third rate EIS thingys and, subsequently in holding 'official Ireland' to account.

Beir bua.

author by Damienpublication date Thu Oct 15, 2009 16:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Keep up the good work down there guys, it's time to take the campaign up a notch, which involves as much publicity as possible. I'll be home for Hallowe'en and I'll be down there to support. SEND SHELL TO HELL!

author by Raymondpublication date Thu Oct 15, 2009 18:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Whatever about Article 9, Article 10.1 of Bunreacht na hEireann seems much more direct and much more relevant to me.

Article 10.1 (according to text at http://www.taoiseach.gov.ie/upload/static/256.htm ) states:

"All natural resources, including the air and all forms of potential energy, within the jurisdiction of the Parliament and Government established by this Constitution and all royalties and franchises within that jurisdiction belong to the State subject to all estates and interests therein for the time being lawfully vested in any person or body."

So how come our oil and gas reserves off the Mayo coast which "belong to the State" have been given away to Shell for nothing apparently (or almost nothing), and that there are no royalties involved?

Which piece of legislation has allowed that to happen I wonder, and which of our presidents signed it into law?

Is the law connected with such legislation valid law at all, and if not (by virtue of it being unconstitutional possibly) why is it not being challenged in the High Court and/or the Supreme Court?

author by Erris patroitpublication date Thu Oct 15, 2009 19:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I have been following this saga, and the only group who seems to have achieved what they set out to do are the fishermen.
They, through their leader Mr. Eamon O'Duibhir have succeeded in preventing Shell from discharging dangerous chemicals into broadhaven bay.
Maybe it is time to have his abilities employed in resolving the onshore situation, as he has a proven track record of been successful in forcing Shell to "do the right thing".
He seems like a very intelligent man and I am sure he would be willing to lend his weight to resolving outstanding issues if asked!

author by nordiepublication date Thu Oct 15, 2009 21:12author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It's great to see such dedication to the truth and nonviolence in the face of bullying, greed and ignorance.
Solidarity from up north.

keep her lit!

author by Chrissie - Shell to Sea Cambridgepublication date Thu Oct 15, 2009 22:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

....to you all for defending your homeland. Beir bua!

author by C - RSCpublication date Fri Oct 16, 2009 10:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Here's a draft submission regarding the Foreshore Licence that Shell are seeking.
The deadline for submission is this Sunday (18th Oct). Submissions can be emailed to foreshore@agriculture.gov.ie


FAO: Coastal Zone Management Division - Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food

I request that you reject the application made by SEPIL seeking a Foreshore Licence for the Corrib Gas Pipeline.

The following are some of the reasons that this application should be rejected out of hand:

1. SEPIL are seeking to carry out their proposed works in a area which is designated as both a Special Protected Areas (SPA) and a Special Area of Conservation (SAC). SPA’s are supposed to be strictly protected sites that are designated under the EU Birds Directive (79/409/EEC), in order to safeguard the habitat of rare and vulnerable birds along with regularly occurring migratory species. Overall from the timeline provided it seems that the developer envisages to be working on the crossing of Srawaddacon for at least 10 months (excluding the Mobilisation and Pre & Post Construction stages). Overall there will be at least 4 reception and launch pits dug in or at the edge of the SPA and some on the SAC. It seems almost certain from the application that at least 1 intermediate shaft (approximately 15m X 15m) will have to be dug in the middle of the SPA. 10 months of work in or surrounding the protected wildlife will surely have considerable negative consequences. The trench-less construction work will require to be working on a 24 hour basis with the necessary lighting also an issue

2. SEPIL have proved themselves already in this jurisdiction to be totally unfit to be given this Foreshore License. The applicant is currently in contempt of court, having entered Rossport Commonage and done site investigation despite a court order preventing them from entering Rossport Commonage being in place. In September 09 despite evidence from the named applicant Gerry Costello, SEPIL were fould in contempt of a court order. During the case, the judge stated “It seems to me that nobody knows what’s going on out there [Rossport]”. See http://www.shelltosea.com/node/37 for article. It is worth noting that the €3000 that SEPIL have been thus far been fined for being found in contempt of court, will be written off as a cost of the project and thus can be written off against tax.
3. SEPIL have already laid a section of the outflow pipe despite not having the correct permissions in place for it. For the foreshore work, that SEPIL carried out in Glengad in 2008 and 2009, thousands of tones of spoil and debris was washed out to sea and no due consideration was given the sensitive environment in which they operated.

4. In his letter of the 26th February 2009, Gerry Costello stated that the “discharge pipe will carry treated surface water run-off only”. It is worth noting already that this year the US EPA has already fined Shell twice over breaches of their outflow pipes. The US EPA found that Shell had illegally discharged pollutants into the sea and failed to maintain the diffuser pipeline. http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/0/46fc564deb0d...ument
SEPIL doesn’t presently have permission from the EPA to operate the outfall pipe which they have illegally constructed part of.
Mr Costello letter claims the produced water arising from the natural gas production will be discharged at the subsea manifold in the Corrib Field. However he omits to mention that by Shell’s own admission not all of the produced water can fit out through the 19 and 25.4mm pipes they say they will use. Shell have stated that their max anticipated produced water flow rate is 3.3 m³ per hour, however the two water cores in the umbilical can only deal with a max of 2.7m³ per hour.

Where will the other water go when you’re not looking?

5. It seems likely that if this application is granted, SEPIL will dig an intervention pit in the middle of Srawaddacon Bay along with a jetty out into the Bay. This could surely have a devastating effect on a lot of marine and wild life in the area. The details on the environmental effects that digging the intervention pit & jetty would have are practically non-existent from SEPIL’s application.

These are just some of the reasons this application should be rejected. This project is not in the national or local interest and also places people in unnecessary danger and so can in no way justify the environmental destruction that will flow from this application being granted.

Yours sincerely:

Related Link: http://www.shelltosea.com
author by O Mpublication date Sat Oct 17, 2009 14:31author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It's been a while since i'd heard of a development in Erris, apart from court action against Shell for their disregard for the law.
Well done to all concerned for again highlighting the flagrant disregard for national laws by the biggest corporation in the world (in profit terms, this year) and by our police force. It's wrecking the reputation of the Garda Siochana when they're seen to ignore law-breaking like this. I wouldn't be surprised if one day someone in the force ends up before a European court, or perhaps even an Irish court.
As for MAYO COUNTY COUNCIL, now they know where their missing traffic cones are!

author by Maura Harrington - S2S; Davitt Leaguepublication date Sun Oct 18, 2009 23:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Interesting attempt at riposte from 'Erris patroit' (sic) troll - would be helped by checking spelling of 'patriot'.

It appears that references in this thread to articles in our Bunreacht/Constitution have provoked a Shell response by way of the usual anonymous comment. They have also picked up on my use of the word 'intelligent' and, in their pro forma fashion, attempted to subvert language once again by ascribing a supposedly 'intelligent' epithet to one who acted, neither more nor less, as a facilitator to Shell in their (part) successful attempt to buy a right - the legitimate right to fish under licence granted by the state - which they were unwilling to defend in court.

It deserves to be repeated that it is only through the informed actions of intelligent people, acting in accordance with our Bunreacht/ Constitution to highlight the continued giveaway of our natural resources that there is hope for progress towards an equitable future.

Facilitating Shell's wishes may be described in many ways; 'intelligent' is not one of them.

author by Michael Hartnett - Corrib and our Constitutionpublication date Mon Oct 19, 2009 16:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors


You should always feel proud.

This Government Burke disgraced and which Ahern sold out to Shell with NO MANDATE.

This country needs moral, civil and rights cleansing.

Michael Hartnett

author by míol mórpublication date Tue Oct 20, 2009 15:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

authorised work

Definition: work carried out with no permission

Shell 'geotechnical' work under way in Mayo


author by old codger - pensionerpublication date Sat Oct 24, 2009 15:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

In these times of danger for the welfare of the nation, the people just sit back and take whatever the government of Fianna Fail and the greens throw at them NAMA HEALTH CUTS ETC>
Laid back complacency may be correct in a normal society but the Erris people and indeed the whole of Ireland dont live in a normal society, we live in a totally corrupt country. A retiring judge with the name Johnson has at last stated that most of the judiciary are corrupt. The Erris people have known this for quite some time. The Gardai are also corrupt as is the media, the council, the IRMS security company and their recruited criminal thugs. most of the state bodies are also corrupt because they are under the controll of the people that created all this corruption in the first place Fianna Fail and our fine upstanding politicians.
The SHell TO SEA campaign have been risking their lives for years hoping that the Irish people would wake up and do something about it but to no avail. So they will just carry on unless the people take up the fight with the true cause of all this nations troubles the corrupt FIANNA FAIL SCUMBAGS.
Keep up the fight folks because you stand for truth and justice, something that Ireland knows very little about.

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