Irish Republican News · June 21, 2013
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Shell campaigner on hunger strike

liamheffernan.jpg

Campaigners against the construction of a Shell gas pipeline at Rossport in County Mayo say one of their fellow campaigners is on a hunger strike over his arrest.

Liam Heffernan was arrested at Aughoose last Wednesday, without any explanation. He had been campaigning against the construction of a dangerous, high-pressure onshore gas pipeline from the Corrib gas field to an onshore gas refinery in scenic northwest Mayo.

Mr Heffernan was taken to Belmullet Garda Station where he was only allowed bail on the condition that he stay away from Shell’s tunnelling compound at Aughoose. He refused and was ordered to be held without bail at Castlerea prison in County Roscommon.

A ‘Shell to Sea’ statement said the campaigner explained his motives to the judge, who told him his arguments were better directed towards the government or the High Court.

Mr Heffernan then agreed to enter bail conditions pending another court appearance on July 10, but campaigners say the judge found unspecified problems with his signature, and remanded him in custody until the court’s next sitting.

He began a hunger strike on Monday and is today marking his tenth day in prison, when he is again due before Harristown Court in Castlerea.

His detention comes as the Rossport Solidarity Camp begins a week of action against Shell’s Corrib Gas Project in Pullathomas, County Mayo and after 13 years of campaigning.

For more information, please see the feature article below.

FORESTRY SELL-OFF SHELVED

But there was some good news for environmental and resource campaigners this week with the news that the threatened sale of Irish forestry rights by the insolvent 26-County state has been abandoned for now.

The scheme had once been touted as “earning” anywhere up to 774 million euro, but ignited protests over fears of another corrupt sell-off of Irish resources.

A broad campaign saw thousands attend a protest in County Wicklow last month, led by actors Jeremy Irons and Sinead Cusack. People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett had also been a vocal critic of the sell-off of Irish forestry rights.

An independent report found the sale would actually take place at a loss, incurring costs of 1.3 billion euro and putting 12,000 jobs in jeopardy, and also burden the state with the continuing cost of maintaining the land.

Government officials have now accepted that the losses from the sale would be too great to allow it to go ahead. They said that they will reconsider all options in relation to Coillte, the Irish forestry board, in 18 months time, once a restructuring and merger with Bord na Mona, the Irish peat board, is complete.

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© 2013 Irish Republican News