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From: "Jo Makepeace" webmaster@schnews.org.uk
Subject: SchNEWS 505, Friday 22nd July, 2005
Date: Fri, 22 Jul 2005 02:03:31 +0100

anti-Shell Corrib oil pipeline protest camp (Ireland)

HIGHWAY TO SHELL

Live8 has come and gone and nothing has changed. St Bob failed to end poverty by simpering and slobbering over Blair's collar. But one multinational is determined to make a difference: Enter Shell, capitalists with a conscience. Eager to establish a level playing field between Europe and Africa, they have taken a radical approach, and for the last few years they have been working on a plan which is breathtaking in its simplicity: create global equality by treating Irish communities as they would Africans - with total contempt!

The story started in 1996 when the Corrib oil field was discovered by Enterprise Oil 70 km off the west coast of Ireland. Years of court wrangles followed, with locals fighting Shell's plans to build a right next to their community. This pipeline is planned to run over bogs to an inland refinery on land which residents describe as "wobbly as blancmange", and prone to landslides. Not safe ground for a pipe which has a "burn radius" of half a mile - threatening a nearby school and pub. And these pipes do go off - like in August 2000 when a gas pipeline exploded in New Mexico killing twelve, and last year when another in Belgium blew up killing fifteen.

Now five locals from Roscommon have been jailed indefinitely for refusing to allow access to their land. They were jailed on 29th June for contempt of court and have been told they will remain there until they have "purged their contempt". The parallels with Shell's infamous human rights abuses of the Ogoni tribespeople in Nigeria have led some to dub the prisoners the 'Bogoni'.

Imprisonment of the 'Roscommon Five' has sparked protests across Ireland, including a march of 3000 in Belmullet and pickets of Shell's petrol forecourts . Blockades have stopped work starting at the proposed refinery site, and some workers have downed tools.

A security guard who resigned said: "I didn't agree with the company being able to send critics to jail because they got in its way."

Despite being guinea pigs for Shell's dangerous cost-cutting, locals will gain little from the fabulous wealth being sucked out of their territorial waters. Campaigners are demanding an inquiry into the shonky deals by bent politicians which signed away royalties to the oilfields - reckoned to be 9 - 17billion worth of gas - with super low tax rates.

A camp has been set up near the blockade which welcomes people, plus money and resources to run it.

Call 086 3201612/086 1682416 or visit http://www.corribsos.com

* Send letters of support to the prisoners Willie Corduff, Philip McGrath, Brendan Philbin, Vincent McGrath and Michael O'Suighin all at Cloverhill prison, Clondalkin, Dublin 22.


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