Blockade of oil depot planned
Blockade of oil depot planned

The main entry point for Shell Oil into Ireland is to be blockaded as part of escalating protests against a controversial new gas pipeline and onshore gas refinery.

Five men from Rossport, County Mayo, remain in jail under legal action taken by the oil company after the men refused to facilitate the construction of a high-pressure gas pipeline on their land.

The men, Willie Corduff, Micheal O Seighin, Brendan Philbin, and brothers Vincent and Philip McGrath, were jailed for contempt after they refused to comply with a High Court injunction barring protests against the pipeline.

On Saturday 10 September, the blockade of the Shell depot in Dublin will commence at 8am near the city’s Clontarf DART Station in a planned day-long protest by the Shell-to-Sea campaign.

In a meeting at the ATGWU headquarters in Dublin last week, the campaign agreed unanimously on a protest strategy which involves further picketing of Shell and Statoil stations on a co-ordinated basis. The protests will culminate with a national rally in Dublin on 1 October.

Martin Murray, the organiser of the Dublin branch of Shell-to-Sea, called on supporters throughout the country to take part in the rally, which will also call for the release of the Rossport 5.

The campaign wants the 26-County authorities, at a minimum, to cease all onshore and offshore operations, pending a full hearing of the issues; release the Rossport 5 and expunge their record; and renegotiate the overall deal for the Irish people.

Following a meeting with the Rossport Five in Cloverhill Prison, Independent Dail deputies and Socialist Party TD Joe Higgins, called for face-to-face talks with Irish Taoiseach Bertie Ahern to address the crisis.

Mr Higgins said the Dublin government had to take responsibility for the men’s imprisonment and said it was time to stand up to Shell.

Work on the 70km pipeline form the Corrib gas field has stopped but Mr Higgins said the five remained committed to their protest.

“I certainly don’t have confidence that minister [Noel] Dempsey will stand up to Shell in the way that is necessary.

“The reason for targeting the Taoiseach is that he is the head of the government and the government is responsible,” he said.

“What we need to do really is to put political pressure on to create the conditions we need for Shell to withdraw their injunction that the men can be released from prison.”

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© 2005 Irish Republican News