“The Rossport Five may well have grounds to bring a substantial claim against Shell for wrongful imprisonment…”

Posted 17.30: Saturday 6 August 2005

A Public challenge to Irish Shell Boss Andy Pyle

By John Donovan

On Thursday I was a guest on Eamon Dunphy’s Breakfast Radio Show (on Dublin Radio for a discussion about the Shell Corrib pipeline controversy and the imprisonment of the “Rossport 5”. A transcript of my contribution to the debate, when I was asked to substantiate my prediction that Shell would engage in undercover activity can be accessed via this link: Read the article

In fact, Shell has a track record of mounting spying operations against pressure groups protesting against its activities (MI6 ‘Firm’ Spied on Green Groups (Sunday Times archive article 17 June 2001).

I therefore publicly challenge Irish Shell Chairman Andy Pyle to state in categorical terms that Shell or its advisors/agents have not used undercover/enquiry agents in connection with the Corrib protestors or the Corrib pipeline project. If he does not respond to this challenge, then the public will be able to draw the appropriate conclusion. A letter saying he has no personal knowledge will not suffice. I invite him to check the situation out and then make an unequivocal statement.

Personally I have nothing but admiration for the Rossport 5 who, like me, object to being trampled on by an aggressive, ruthless, multinational bully, whose recent history is mired by scandal and incompetence on a breathtaking scale.

I suppose that we can at least be thankful that in Ireland, Shell has only had the Corrib protest leaders incarcerated. In Nigeria, innocent leaders of the Ogoni protest movement were hanged by the corrupt military regime which worked closely with Shell in the exploitation and despoliation of Ogoniland. Shell has reportedly extracted over $30 billion US dollars in oil and gas from the Nigerian Delta, yet the local population still lives in abject poverty. Contrast this fact with the disgraced former Shell Chairman, Sir Philip Watts, who left Shell last year with a title and a pension pot worth $18 million dollars, despite destroying Shell’s reputation as a result of the reserves scandal.

Eight Royal Dutch Shell companies subsequently had the audacity to sue reserves whistleblower, Dr John Huong, for libel, claiming he had destroyed Shell’s reputation. In fact Shell’s reputation had already been ruined because it’s unscrupulous management chose to ignore his conscience driven warning, as a Shell Production Geologist, about Shell deceiving its shareholders over its hydrocarbon reserves. Dr Huong also blew the whistle on important safety issues in relation to the Kinabalu oil platform and Shell’s accident prone helicopter fleet.

Thank goodness there are still people like the Rossport Five and Dr Huong who have the guts to stand up to multinationals which possess more power and financial muscle than many countries. The Rossport Five have (like Dr Huong) demonstrated that they have such courage in spades having stuck resolutely to their principles, despite being jailed and separated from their loves ones since the end of June.

Shell has already caved in to a considerable extent and will likely go the whole hog very shortly by withdrawing their legal action. The Rossport Five may well have grounds to bring a substantial claim against Shell for wrongful imprisonment, bearing in mind that Shell allegedly gave false information to the courts in support of the application for committal and reportedly victimised the Rossport Five, while taking no action against other individuals who had acted in the same way. The longer the Rossport Five are incarcerated on false evidence, the greater the potential damages. Fortunately money is of little consequence to Shell given its humongous profits resulting from the record high oil prices. However money would obviously be needed to fund any such litigation.

The following information on making donations to support the Rossport Five is taken from the “Sea to Shell” website:

Account Name: The Rossport Five Fund
Bank: Ulster Bank
Address: Main Street, Belmullet, Co Mayo
Sort Code: 98-53-14
Account Number: 23987020
For International Transfers also use:
IBAN: IE74 ULSB 9853 1423 9870 20

This website and sisters,,,, and, are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia segment.

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