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Sunday Business Post (Ireland): Fishermen threaten blockade of Shell

12 November 2006  By Nicola Cooke

The Irish Navy will have to remove a blockade of fishing vessels off the Mayo coast if Shell proceeds with plans to locate an effluent pipe in Broadhaven Bay, fishermen in Erris have warned.

Protesters against Shell’s gas terminal at Bellanaboy in north Mayo, against whom gardai led a baton charge last Friday, said the actions of the gardai have strengthened their resolve even further. About 150 gardai were present at Friday’s protest. Around 300 protesters had gathered for a day of protest against the Corrib Gas project. When they blocked a public road to the Shell construction site a baton charge was ordered. Several protesters were injured, with two requiring medical treatment. And a small number of gardai also received minor injuries during the charge. There were two arrests.

Pat O’Donnell of the Erris Inshore Fishermen’s Association (EIFA) said local fishermen had agreed at a meeting last Tuesday to prevent work on the Shell outpipe, if it goes ahead in its current design, by using their fishing vessels to blockade Broadhaven Bay.

The fishermen are concerned about an outpipe which will pump effluent into the sea close to a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and damage marine life. A marine licence vetting committee report has already raised concerns about the outpipe and the pollutants it will discharge.

Shell said the outfall would be at a point ‘‘several kilometres north of Erris Head, outside of Broadhaven Bay’’, but the fishermen said the Atlantic swell with southwesterly prevailing winds would bring the effluent back into Broadhaven Bay.

‘‘There are over 100 people dependent on fishing for a livelihood in the Erris area, and deep sea angling is also a tourist industry in Belmullet. We are not going to let Shell pollute our bay, which has been a huge asset to the community down through the centuries. The Irish Navy will have to be called in to deal with a blockade,” O’Donnell said.

A Shell spokeswoman said the outfall pipe would be more than 60 metres underwater, 12.7 kilometres from land.

‘‘Due to the level of treatment of the water, it is not expected there will be any negative environmental impact of the discharge from the outfall, nor on Broadhaven Bay SAC,” she said. A meeting between representatives of Shell, the EIFA, the Department of the Marine and the Marine Institute to discuss a number of issues will be held on Thursday. and its sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

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