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Irish Independent: Corrib protest perceptions

Published: Nov 03, 2006

A disturbing feature of the Corrib Basin dispute has been gross misrepresentation of the Shell to ea campaign by the Irish sensationalist press. This warping of the public perception of the true nature of the dispute, does a grave disservice to Irish democracy.

I participated recently in one of the daily protests in Rossport, and can say that the “Shell to Sea thugs” and the technophobic troglodytes of Rossport (whose protest is run by paramilitaries, surprise, surprise!) are, in fact, ordinary decent citizens who have studied how a Shell-led consortium proposes to process the Corrib Basin reserves onshore and the likely impact of such on their community.

They believe, rightfully, that the conveyance of untreated and highly toxic gas under enormous pressures in pipes close to their homes from the Basin to a processing terminal located six miles inland will present an enormous environmental and health hazard.

They are fully aware that expert advice and official planning directives were ignored at Shell’s behest and wonder what national interest takes priority over the risks inherent to this harebrained project.

It is this knowledge and the resolve to protect the community that impels these Shell to Sea campaigners to brave the bleak predawn darkness and the large and intimidating Garda presence, in a daily display of exemplary civic responsibility.

Repetitive use of excessive force by certain elements of the Gardai has brought the force into widespread disrepute in this peaceful and law-abiding area.

The kicking and punching of citizens exercising peacefully their democratic right to protest is intolerable.

Shell spokespersons trumpet the non-viability of this option without advancing a single convincing reason against it.

DR TOMAS MAC SIOMOIN, RDA, SANT FELIU DE GUIXOLS, GIRONA, CATALONIA

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