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Irish Independent: Standing up for their rights

Irish Independent: Standing up for their rights

Friday Jul 01, 2005

Sir – It is with great distress that I write to you with regard to the jailing of five men from Erris, in Co Mayo, based on a High Court ruling. They have been jailed due to the breaching of court orders preventing them obstructing the building of a gas pipeline owned by Shell, on land owned by the gentlemen in question. I find this decision incredible.

I believe these men are to be commended for their spirit and courage in the face of one of the biggest companies in the world. As we all know, the North-West is an area starved of investment and job creation by the Government, but the construction of a gas pipeline by Shell through two villages in a rural area is not the aid that people are looking for! There have been many important issues surrounding the building of this pipeline – namely, employment creation, gas supplies for Ireland, and environmental and construction issues.

However, I feel that the fundamental issue at this time is that these five men, their families and their neighbours are being put under severe pressure by Shell. This is not a hard job for Shell, as its power and resources make them a Goliath for any David that may dare to stand up and object to its plans. Shell and, it seems, the Government are happy to expose the residents of Glengad and Bellananboy to the maximum risk for which there will be little or no long-term benefits for the area.

Therefore, I feel it is time that we all make our voices heard with regard to this now pressing issue. This applies to the residents of Erris at home and away, local politicians and those in Government, and anyone who has an interest in maintaining the area of Glengad and Bellananboy as an area of natural and unspoilt beauty. Deirdre McIntyre, Lower Beechwood Avenue, Dublin 6

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