Irish Republican News · September 24, 2010
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Direct action halts pipeline work

Shell Oil was forced to suspend work on the proposed new Corrib pipeline route in north Mayo yesterday when two Shell to Sea campaigners boarded one of the drilling rigs.

The two protesters tied themselves with a hammock under the drilling rig, and remained suspended from the structure for twelve hours.

The two men, who are members of Rossport Solidarity Camp, had dry suits and food, according to their supporters in the Shell to Sea campaign.

Just before 7am, nine people swam out to one of Shell’s drilling platforms in the Srwaddacon Bay Special Area of Conservation (SAC). Two people climbed up the drill and secured themselves with a hammock while the rest of the swimmers remained underneath the platform.

For the first hour a team of five swimmers and two kayakers remained in the water underneath the platform in support of the two climbers. Around 8am Shell’s security workers violently removed several campaigners, dragging them through the water by their life jackets.

Shell had 13 safety and security boats surrounding and keeping people away from the platform for the duration of the protest.

A Garda boat arrived at about 9am and arrested two kayakers who were paddling around the platform, but they were both released without charges.

For part of the morning Shell began drilling with the second drill on the platform, despite the fact that two protesters were virtually up inside the platform at the top of the main drill.

This was “completely illegal” as a major health and safety violation, according to the Shell to Sea campaign.

“The noise was deafening for the two occupiers but Shell continued working anyway, until complaints were made to the Health and Safety Authority and work on the second drill was halted as well.”

Environmental campaigners said the protest was justified, in light of a new submission to the planning authorities.

The 80-page submission by conservation group An Taisce complained that insufficient time had been given to assess new information submitted by Shell in relation to the work, which has been licensed by Minister for the Environment John Gormley.

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