By John Donovan
Hostility by the local population to the Shell Corrib Gas Project in Ireland continues. As the operators of a well known website www.royaldutchshellplc.com -focussed on the global activities of the Royal Dutch Shell Group, we recently received an eloquent appeal for help. The content of the email is self-explanatory.
Dear Mr John Donovan and to your father also,
I was not aware of your existence until today. It is great to see that 2 men can be a real force, threat and thorn in the side of the conscienceless giant S=HELL (I’m calling it this because that is what Shell means = HELL to all those receiving communities like Erris).
It gives me hope for the future of those who are opposing the S=hell Corrib Gas Field project in Bellanaboy, North Mayo, (where an experimental, untested, land based gas cleaning & waste disposal refinery is to be located and dangerous untreated high pressure raw gas pipe is to pass by peoples homes on the way to the Refinery in Bellanboy), the best known group is âshell to seaâ that the Irish media (which S =hell has bought and paid for) would box us negatively into and regard opponents as being cranks, eco-warriors, shin-feiners, nimbys(not in my back yard), serial objectors or anything else negative that can be thrown at them.
I would like to state that I am a 30 something wife & mother of young children, I and my husband are both conservative, middle class, country born and reared people both with fulltime jobs in local Erris area, I have never up to this protested to anything in my life and the only criminal activity I have been involved in was an illegal parking fine.Â I am opposed to the Corrib gas project in Mayo that is being carried out by S=hell. I want the project to be carried out offshore where it will not threaten the health & safety of the Erris Community circa 9,000 population.
At the start I was in favour of the project as I thought it would be done as is being done in Kinsale, County Cork, -offshore, but as I informed myself more I got less answers for my questions or worrying replies as to local health & safety plans (specific plans do not seem to be part of their vocabulary). The Mayo County Council (local government) supports them as does the Irish Govt and its Departments and its Agencies who have bent over backwards to facilitate them and make life difficult for anyone that had the time or energy to invest in standing up to S=hell Plc.
In spite of this the opponents to this project have had some success and the project has been delayed from the original date to have gas flowing in 2003/2004. Since the year 2000, I have voiced concerns not openly as such since I am main bread winner in my home and could not risk being as vocal as I’d have liked. At the minute support is being bought from a few local community groups prostituting themselves for a few thousand euros- the so call local investment fund. Our community is being split down the middle and families are being torn apart.
What is going on here in Belmullet is not nice and I suppose I’m just emailing to see if you could be our fairy godmother as such, naive I know but I am not versed in clever commentary etc, etc. Thankfully the core group are wonderful honest people who have given over so much time to the cause of getting s=hell to build its refinery offshore (the costs of doing this would only be aÂ few days profit to S=hell, and would not cost the Irish taxpayer a penny) and which would ensure my neighbours safety and mine and my family’s. Some have given up careers to devote to this, others are retired who have since 2000 found themselves with this new job. Others devote their free time so generously to show up the fat salaried hollow S=HELL organisation and its agents for all its incompetencies so far and its lack of a conscience.
Do you think that you or Bill Campbell, (another person of integrity -do you have a contact for him?) would come over to Mayo and show S=hell up for what they are? I would gladly accommodate you or others in my home and pay for your flights over to Knock Airport (Ryanair of course) pick you up and bring you back again.Â Do I sound desperate? I just don’t what will help- its so sewn up and our Irish govt is the biggest dictator of all in the project. It is frightening for the future. Our water supply is definitely under threat as is the coast environment, my neighbours homes who the raw high pressure gas pipe will pass through 70m away from their front door.Â If an explosion occurs we are all goners. My children -what is for them if the worst happens and with S=hell’s existing track record, the probability of this occurring is fairly high. I’ve seen what S=HELL they has done and is doing in the Niger delta, how families must leave to survive, to have a future for their families instead of barely existing there, any opposition crushed. Please if you can help I’d be eternally grateful.
Above is a photo of Sruthfadacan or Sruwaddacon Bay an EU protected site which our govt has given permission to be surveyed/drilled whatever and which now the raw gas pipe is to travel through.Â The photo was taken from the hill on which a severe landslide occurred in 2003 and people are afraid the drilling will destabilise the mountain again as a result of the drilling. Many homes are located on the hillsides
We are only a small area with probably the lowest population density in Ireland it is clear that the govt does not even give a s**t about us. The abuse the guards (Irish Police force) has dished out to the local community for showing concern for the project is something appalling. Thanks for reading my desperate ramblings and sure if you only reply to this I won’t feel this letter has been in vain.
Name & email address supplied