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From: "Jo Makepeace" (email@example.com)
Date: Sat, 17 Nov 2007 10:13:53 -0000
Subject: SchNEWS 611, Friday 16th November 2007
continued resistance at Rossport (Mayo, Ireland)
COME SHELL OR HIGH WATER
The road protests at the Hill of Tara in Ireland may have been hogging the limelight recently (see ScHNEWS 610) but that doesn't mean the resistance isn't still raging at the proposed Shell pipeline site at Rossport (see SchNEWS 603).
In late October Shell moved into a new phase as RPS (Rural Planning Services) began work drilling test bore holes as part of their survey of the potential pipeline routes. The protesters responded by taking direct action at various locations where drilling occurred to stop work there.
These locations included the SAC (Special Area of Conservation) around Rossport Solidarity Camp. Workers challenged about whether they had permission to be drilling on the SAC, admitted that they didn't but, conveniently, the maps they were using didn't mark the area as an SAC! The workers were then provided with accurate maps of the area and work stopped until the Gardai arrived and ordered them to continue regardless of the land's conservation status.
At this point a nifty climber jumped the fence and scaled the drilling machine stopping work for the rest of the day. On other days work was stopped in a similar manner with protesters either climbing or hiding under the drilling machine with large presences of other local people refusing to move until work stopped.
Last Friday (the 9th November) saw the third in a series of recent national days of action at the site of Shell's proposed refinery. There was an impressive turnout of over 400 up-for-it people. Actions started at 6am with a blockade of the workers entering site. Over the course of the day there were several incursions onto the site
and trucks were blockaded.
There were few arrests but numerous injuries at the hands of over zealous Gardai and security guards as protesters were violently removed from inside the compound and off the road. One man had to receive hospital treatment after his foot was run over by a lorry ordered through a crowd of people by the Gardai. Many other people sustained cuts and bruises, including one elderly woman who took part in an occupation of the site and had a fence thrown at her by a security guard. Despite being bruised and battered, the day of action was widely viewed as a success by those who took part.
Coincidently, that evening, the two quarry companies involved in the construction of the proposed refinery site had many of their trucks and an office smashed up by unknown assailants…
Early this week the Environment Protection Agency rubber stamped their earlier decision to grant an operating license for the refinery site. This decision was expected but a legal battle against the decision is set to ensue as An Taisce (The Irish National Trust) take the case to the European Court over the sites location in a drinking water catchment area.
Wednesday (14th)'s court session saw successive Shell to Sea cases and Erris' favourite Judge Devins once again dished out her own special version of 'justice'. The local spokesperson for the Shell to Sea campaign was dubiously convicted of assaulting a Garda at Rossport polling station last May (see SchNEWS 597). He vigorously denied the charge and the evidence against him consisted solely of the word of the 'assaulted' garda. At a previous hearing Devins had asked the prosecution to return with more witnesses but despite their failure to do this, she didn't throw the case out for lack of evidence but handed out a six month suspended sentence!
Another woman, who Devins had previously sentenced to 100 hours community service after taking part in a lock-on blockade against Shell, was deemed unsuitable for community service due to illness - so was sentenced to three months in prison in her absence.
Two men who took part in a lock-on that stopped work for the day at the proposed refinery site in July were also convicted and sentenced to 150 hours community service. All are likely to appeal. Whether this signals a new legal 'get tough' intimidation policy remains to be seen. Meanwhile, at the Rossport Solidarity camp, the tat-down for winter continues and the weather helpfully offers its own resistance to Shell's work. But visitors are still welcome and can be accommodated at the camp's new house...
* Solidarity camp at http://www.struggle.ws/rsc
* Shell to sea at http://www.corribsos.com
* Videos of drilling action at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=czw37WlF9tQ
road protests (current)
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