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Shell hell in Ireland

For several years a consortium consisting of Shell, Statoil, and Marathon have attempted to build an unprecedented high-pressure up-stream raw gas pipeline going 9 kilometres inland to a refinery in Erris, Mayo, in the north-west of Ireland.

Since the middle of June, mass pickets have halted all work on this development, and Shell, the main party in the consortium, have recently announced a suspension of all work until next year. Effectively, people power has prevented them from carrying out any work and the final blow was a plan by 15 to 20 fishing boats to exercise their fishing rights in the path of the ship hired to lay the off-shore pipeline.

Imprisoned by Shell

On 29 June five men were imprisoned indefinitely for breach of a court order which aimed to prevent them from denying Shell access to farm land owned by them and their neighbours which the company needs to construct the pipeline. These men, known as the Rossport Five, after the hamlet through which the main body of the pipeline is to go, include people who are expected to live beside the pipeline as well as people who are expected to work in the fields above it everyday. Rossport Solidarity Camp has been a big part of the popular effort, involving people from across Ireland and a number of European countries.

Solidarity actions

Many solidarity actions have taken place across Ireland, such as the simultaneous picketing of almost all the Statoil stations in Dublin. Some protests have also taken place overseas. Shell to Sea, an international network formed to resist this development, is holding a major blockade of Shell's main depot in Dublin on 10 September and is calling on people across the world to join in protests on this day. Appropriate targets include Shell, Statoil, Marathon, Irish Embassies or Consulates, and Norwegian Embassies or Consulates as Statoil is owned by the Norwegian state.

If you can, please write to the prisoners: Willie Corduff, Philip McGrath, Brendan Philbin, Vincent McGrath and Michael O'Suighin at Cloverhill Prison, Clondalkin, Dublin 22, Ireland or donate to their legal defence fund.

Shell To Sea, (info@shelltosea.com; http://www.shelltosea.com)