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Irish Times: Protests over Shell pipeline

Oct 21, 2006

Madam, – Shell E&P Ireland, with the help of Minister Noel Dempsey and sections of the media, has succeeded in portraying the Shell to Sea campaign as stubborn, intransigent and unwilling to compromise with the beleaguered multinational.

Speaking on RTE radio’s News at One last Monday, the Minister claimed that protesters had yet to offer a “reasonable” solution to the conflict. This is a remarkable comment: in fact the protesters have been offering a reasonable solution since November 2000, when they first called for the gas to be processed just offshore, as happens at Kinsale and at similar projects across the globe.

Shell has stubbornly ruled out this option on grounds of cost. Instead it has used its formidable PR expertise to create the impression that the Shell to Sea campaign is opposed to the entire project, which has never been the case. – Yours, etc,

WILLIAM HEDERMAN, Upper Leeson Street, Dublin 4.

Madam, – In her report headed “Mood is ‘akin to the Civil war'”, Lorna Siggins quotes a number of public representatives in Mayo on the ongoing attempts to block workers at the Ballinaboy terminal ( The Irish Times , October 19th). She quotes Michael Ring TD as saying: “And what’s intimidation? I know there are people who are angry. I’ve heard of several incidents, but it is not intimidation – and there’s a big difference”.

Could I remind Mr Ring, who represents a party that has traditionally espoused law and order, that threatening people who work for Shell, phoning them at night, following and blocking them going about lawful business, noting the numbers of their cars, jeering at people and lying on the road amounts in my mind to intimidation, and I am sad to see him call it by another name.

God save us from intimidation if what we have seen so far amounts only to anger! – Yours, etc,

BRENDAN CAFFERTY, Ballina, Co Mayo.

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