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The Saker
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The Pipe - Thumbs Up!

category galway | arts and media | opinion/analysis author Thursday July 15, 2010 11:14author by JM Report this post to the editors

Galway Metro - Summer Festival 2010 - FLEADH REVIEWS

A documentary covering practically a decade of turmoil faced by the community in Rossport, Co Mayo.

The Pipe - movie poster image
The Pipe - movie poster image

Such a popular flick this one that another screening was held in the cinemobile on the Saturday morning. A documentary covering practically a decade of turmoil faced by the community in Rossport, Co Mayo. The movie highlights the differences between Shell to Sea - in Gaelic Shell chun Saile - in County Mayo and other local parishioners with different opinions on how to resolve the issue.

The community and campaigners essentially oppose the proposed construction of a natural gas pipeline through Rossport and the current construction of the refinery at Bellanaboy. The stated aim of the campaign is that the gas be refined at sea, rather than inland, as is done with Ireland's only other producing gas field off Cork stating the proximity of a natural gas pipeline is a health and safety risk to local residents.

Whilst living locally, the director, Risteard O Domhnaill began filming the story as a news cameraman. Risteard made this documentary to show how ordinary men can he turned into criminals by a corrupt state. The documentary follows local characters in their daily lives and highlights the dignity and intelligence displayed by locals and their families in this Paddy and Goliath battle.

I found the particular stories of Wille and Mary Corduff and Pat "The Chief" O'Donnell the most poignant. Willie & Mary have a farm at the eastern end of the Rossport Peninsula. In 2005, when Willie went to jail for 94 days for refusing to allow Shell enter his land to lay a high pressure, raw gas pipeline, it was Mary who kept the farm and family going. The film highlights the unbelievable stresses that this average Irish family has been placed through while managing a farm and a family.

Repeatedly arrested and currently imprisoned for 7 months, Pat "The Chief" O'Donnell is a local fisherman who is deeply concerned for the future of his crab and lobster family business, which is threatened by the building of the pipeline. In the documentary, this lone ranger shows no fear whilst he continues to fish in the excluded zone around Shell's ship, Solitaire as it struggles to lay pipe on the sea bed. Pat gets out of Castlerea Prison in the nest few weeks. Follow the shell to sea campaign on Facebook for updates on the celebration of his release.

Another interesting twist is the legal approaches taken. German born local of a quarter of a century, Monica Muller chose to follow a legal path through the courts. Monica has currently succeeded in taking Shell to court for trespass and survey work on a local bog. The Pipe also shows locals taking their story to the European Courts as Shell is in breach of European environmental law.

I have a feeling that the documentary is merely a tip in the iceberg of the local stories.... Interestingly, a mid 17th century prophet, Brian Rua U'Cearbhain from the Kilcommon Parish, (the same parish as the Rossport Five are from) Erris also, foretold that innocent men would be imprisoned without fault or reason

"the day will come when people will be imprisoned without fault or reason and it will he a prudent man who will emigrate, that the year of gold will come followed by the year of sorrow, one or two short years after and its few will be alive afterwards".

For more info on how to get involved visit www.shelltosea.com or to find out about how to see the film visit www.thepipethefilm.com.

Related Link: http://www.thepipethefilm.com/
author by eco joepublication date Thu Jul 15, 2010 15:39Report this post to the editors

Fair play to Risteard O Domhnaill who spent four years telling the story. Hopefully the Chief gets the coverage he deserves.

The story is indeed stranger than fiction.

 
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