02 January 2006

Campaigners warn Rossport protests will continue

Irish Examiner

02 January 2006
By Eddie Cassidy

A SIMPLE but significant ceremony yesterday marked the 94th day of the release of the Rossport Five, jailed last year for their opposition to Shell’s development of the Corrib gas fields.
The men, who spent 94 days in Cloverhill Prison before their release in late September, were among 100 people gathered at the Co Mayo site yesterday.

A spokesperson for the Shell-to-Sea campaign, Maura Harrington said: “We gathered at 4pm as a pointer to Shell and its partners in Government that we have not forgotten the 94 days the men spent in prison.

“Campaigners have been at the gates since July last and there remains a permanent presence there since.”

Yesterday’s ceremony at Bellanaboy, she said, was “good-humoured.”

Ms Harrington emphasised: “The men’s’ 94th day since their release coincided with the first day of 2006 and we felt the occasion was a timely reminder to Shell and the Government.”

She added: “We want to tell Shell and the Government that the commitment of the people, in opposing the gas coming ashore at the proposed site, has not abated one bit. The men who served their sentences, their families, friends and supporters will never allow Shell or the Government to forgot those days.

“Bertie Ahern’s favourite slogan may be ‘it’s time to move on’ but our attention span is longer than that.”

Meanwhile, an escalation in opposition to the onshore pipeline is threatened following an appeal on a website by campaigners for “gifts” such as night-vision goggles and bolt-cutters which could be used to breach steel fencing.

Activists are expected to flock to the Shell-to-Sea planned “solidarity camp” at Rossport in early spring.

The activists say they want to “help local people resist attempts by Shell E&P Ireland (SEPIL) contractors to force the controversial pipeline through the area.”

The planned camp has been set up on lands owned by one of the local men jailed for his opposition to the pipeline.

It is anticipated Shell will begin a major drive to progress work on the €900 million project in February when ground and weather conditions improve.

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