Yesterday saw the launch of "Beat the Boreholes"; a campaign of mass civil disobedience to stop Shell works in Mayo this Summer. At 7am in the morning campaigners entered the water in Broadhaven Bay in kayaks and a safety rib in a peaceful attempt to prevent Shell from bringing in a second borehole drilling platform. They were met with 5 Garda water unit boats, with approximately 16 Gardaí on board and 10 security boats. Campaigners attempted to approach the platform but were prevented from doing so by Gardaí who overturned their kayaks. Gardaí arrested 2 campaigners for minor Public Order offences and seized three kayaks, the safety rib & several paddles.
This action follows on from previous night when at 7pm people tried to stop the first drilling platform entering the estuary by blocking the way with rafts & kayaks. One kayaker came close to the platform & was seized by Gardai. He says "a garda then pinched my throat with his two fingers and cut off my air supply. He held me like that for about 90 seconds, allowing me to take one or two gasps. He kept saying into my ear that he had my last breath in his hands.”
Up to 80 boreholes are planned in the Sruth Fhada Chonn estuary in the next 3 months. They are to provide a survey for the tunnel which Shell are proposing to build under the estuary to house the raw gas pipeline. Beat the Boreholes are asking people to pledge to "adopt" a borehole & take action to stop it being made. Groups are signing up fast with various actions planned such as mass walk outs on the sand, picnics on the beach & boarding the drilling rigs.
The new pipeline route is still within 250m of several houses and the local community remains opposed to the plans. The estuary is a Specially Protected Area & part of the Broadhaven Bay Special Area of Conservation; protected under EU legislation. The operation will damage parts of the estuary & disturb the wildlife there, particularly Atlantic salmon, otters & birds found on the intertidal areas. This work was given the go ahead by minister Gormley, former Rossport 5 and Shell to Sea supporter.
Join Beat the Boreholes this Summer in Mayo! See www.rossportsolidaritycamp.com. www.shelltosea.com. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.