12 April 2006

Shell to Sea resume blockade

Daily Ireland

Protesters halt move of heavy equipment to planned refinery site

By Connla Young

Shell to Sea campaigners have blocked a bid by the multi-national oil company to move heavy construction equipment onto the site of a planned oil refinery in County Mayo.
Campaigners have vowed to block any construction work on the site of a planned gas refinery at Bellanaboy.
Shell E&P Ireland intend building a massive plant there which they claim will be used to clean raw gas taken from the Corrib field.
Earlier this week up to 30 Rossport residents and members of the Rossport Solidarity Camp formed a line across the entrance to the site and stopped a lorry carrying heavy plant equipment from entering.
This week’s picket followed an incident last week during which a lorry carrying heavy plant equipment was turned away from the refinery site by protesters.
During the winter, campaigners have allowed Shell to carry out a limited amount of work to purify rain water which has gathered on the site of the planned refinery.
Campaigners fear that Shell may be using attempts to remove aluminum from the water as a cloak to move machinery onto the site that will the be used for construction work.
Rossport Solidarity Camp spokeswoman Eve Campbell said protesters at Bellanaboy remain wary of Shell’s motives.
“A limited amount of environmental work has been carried out but we will not allow any construction work to take place on this site.”
A spokesperson for Shell E&P Ireland claimed that the equipment is needed to expand environmental work.
“Shell to Sea have previously stated they will not prevent environmental works from being carried out and the company calls on them to act in accordance with previous statements.”
Meanwhile, the Rossport Solidarity Camp received a morale boost this week when members of London-based samba band, Rhythms of Resistance, joined their protest.
Ms Campbell welcomed the international support as a recognition of their protest.
“After six years Shell should know that their spin will not wash, that this campaign is getting stronger, and that they will not be allowed to repeat their destruction of the Niger delta here in Mayo.”
Rhythms of Resistance has held a number of gigs in support of the Shell to Sea campaign in recent months and will perform in County Mayo this week.
The samba band will perform outside the Bangor offices of Shell from 3pm to 4pm today.
On Thursday, a meeting will be held in support of the campaign at the General Humbert monument, by the Dunnes Stores carpark, in Ballina, at 1pm.
The Rhythms of Resistance will again perform at 1pm on Saturday near the Travellers Friend’s carpark in Castlebar.

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