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Irish Times: Controversy over Mayo pipeline

Irish Times: Controversy over Mayo pipeline

“…the whole saga, has created a dichotomy between the so-called Rossport Five (“good”) and Shell (“bad”) that could well result in there being no way through the impasse, and in thousands of people (the silent majority, perhaps?) being denied access to natural gas as a source of power”

Tuesday Oct 11, 2005

Madam, – We wish to commend all those who rallied to our assistance this summer. It is important to do this following the nonsensical assertions by Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny on RTE’s The Week in Politics on October 3rd (The Irish Times, October 4th).

He asserted that his office was picketed by Sinn Fein and he rejected criticism of his stance on the Corrib crisis as a Sinn Fein-inspired campaign because of his opposition to a proposed deal over the release of IRA prisoners.

These assertions are false and an insult to thousands of people who, unlike Mr Kenny, did attend rallies supporting us this summer. It was our families, supporters and friends, not Sinn Fein, who protested outside his office. This was done to shame him into supporting and representing his constituents when our private pleas to him for help and support before and during our imprisonment failed. RTE video footage of the picketers proves it is nonsense to suggest otherwise.

Until this summer Mr Kenny was the leading TD in Mayo. When Mayo faced its biggest political crisis in a generation Mr Kenny was found wanting and for the most part silent. Following our release, when all parties, including Shell and its Government partner, were welcoming our release and the opportunity for mediation, Mr Kenny judged it was an appropriate time to excuse himself rather than address very valid criticism of his lack of leadership on the Corrib issue by making these false assertions.

The Corrib crisis was a golden opportunity for Mr Kenny to showcase his leadership skills while articulating the approach of an “alternative” government under his leadership to the abuse of citizens and our natural resources. Instead we witnessed the Taoiseach calling his role “constructive”. We are happy to note that many people in Fine Gael in Mayo and across the country, along with principled people from all parties including the Greens, Sinn Fein, Labour, socialist groupings, and others, showed us genuine support. Unlike Mr Kenny they were not found wanting in leadership and, more recently, judgment.

During our imprisonment we often heard the screams of the marginalised from cells nearby. Throughout the country the people are screaming for leaders of competence, honour and vision to deliver a republic that enhances rather than undermines the lives of the people and the society we live in.

When historians look back from a better republic they may recognise Rossport as “the straw”. In this better republic the citizen will be “king” and bankrupt politicians of all hues will be redundant. – Yours, etc,


Madam, – Justin Moran (October 5th) accuses Kevin Myers of missing the point in his Irishman’s Diary of the previous day about the Rossport controversy. However, it is Mr Moran who is missing the point.

Your Editorial of October 3rd noted that “too many people. . . showed a lack of understanding, or were simply unwilling to accept, the proper separation of powers that underpins the correct relationship between the legislature and judiciary”. Mr Moran seems to display this same lack of understanding. Mr Myers simply pointed out that the five were jailed only because of their refusal to give false undertakings not to interfere with the Shell pipelines passing through their lands, and not because of their beliefs.

Mr Moran goes on to point out that Shell could have lifted the injunction at any time, and therefore released the men much earlier. Indeed this is true; but it is equally true that the men could just as easily have secured their own release by giving the assurances the court required.

By their actions, again as pointed out in the Diary, they chose to go to jail. And while they are to be admired for adhering so strongly to their principles, this does not change the fact that the men’s jailing, and their subsequent release, has nothing to do with the issues that led to the court case, but only with the fact that they were in contempt of court.

The safety of the pipeline clearly still needs to be addressed. But the objectors have dismissed the entire findings of the planning process and are refusing to participate in a Government-ordered safety review.

This, combined with biased coverage of the whole saga, has created a dichotomy between the so-called Rossport Five (“good”) and Shell (“bad”) that could well result in there being no way through the impasse, and in thousands of people (the silent majority, perhaps?) being denied access to natural gas as a source of power.- Yours, etc,

MAIRE GARVEY, Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin. and its sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

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