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Irish farmers’ arrest instigates protesting

Daily Herald (Utah): Irish farmers’ arrest instigates protesting

Sunday 25 September 2005

ROSSPORT, Ireland — Five farmers from these wind-swept coastal boglands have been locked up in a Dublin prison for nearly three months for blocking construction of a $1.1 billion natural gas pipeline and refinery by the Shell oil group, a standoff that has forced suspension of the largest energy project in Irish history.

The imprisonment of the group known here as the Rossport Five, which includes a 65-year-old former schoolteacher, has sparked protest marches across Ireland and an emotional debate about the pace and balance of economic development in a once-poor county that has become one of Europe’s greatest success stories.

“The government and Shell should be ashamed of themselves,” said Aggie Philbin, whose husband, Brendan, was one of the men jailed on June 29 for refusing a court order to allow Shell to lay pipeline across their farmland in rural County Mayo in northwestern Ireland. “These are innocent men standing up for the rights of their families.”

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