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Irish Times: Protests at Corrib gas project

Published: Nov 20, 2006

Madam, – The attempts to slight the legitimate concerns of the broad campaign which is seeking the refining of the Corrib gas in the normal offshore way are getting more desperate by the day, it seems.

First we had Michael McDowell’s repeated and nonsensical rants about the supposedly ubiquitous involvement of Sinn Fein in the campaign, completely untrue if one was to actually speak to those in Bellanaboy or elsewhere.

Then we had Enda Kenny’s confused accounts of violence on behalf of the Shell to Sea campaign in Erris on November 10th, when the breaches of the peace were actually carried out by a provocative and completely unaccountable Garda force there.

Now we have Minister Noel Dempsey putting on the Dail record a second-hand report of another TD who supposedly overheard a phone conversation on Grafton Street in which the words “Rossport” and “riot” were purportedly mentioned.

The entire saga of false claims attempting to damage the Shell to Sea campaign brings to mind an episode of The Simpsons featuring the inept Lionel Hutz, attorney-at-law. When asked if he had actual evidence, Mr Hutz replied; “Well, your Honour, we’ve plenty of hearsay and conjecture. Those are kinds of evidence” – Yours, etc,

DERMOT LOONEY, Labour Youth Communications Officer, Ely Place, Dublin 2.

Madam, – The Fine Gael leader’s attack on people participating in the Shell to Sea campaign has implications for the trade union movement and future coalition governments.

Firstly, was it the silence of the leadership of both the Labour Party and the trade union movement on this issue which spurred Mr Kenny to launch his outburst at a trade union conference the weekend before last? Yes, members of Labour and the trade unions have issued statements in support of the campaign – but were they in an individual capacity? Are they endorsed by the hierarchy of their parent bodies? It is not clear.

Surely we are entitled to demand that Labour and the ICTU issue clear statements demanding an end to the current Corrib gas project and asserting that our national resources must be in public ownership?

Secondly, there is the fundamental question of coalition.

The Fianna Fail/PD Government and Fine Gael support the current project. Sinn Fein, the Green Party and Labour oppose it (apparently). Isn’t this an interesting scenario? FG has a pre-election pact with Labour, both eye up the Greens, while Sinn Fein is willing to “grasp the nettle” of coalition (obviously with Fianna Fail).

Fianna Fail handed over our oil and gas fields to multinationals.

A Fianna Fail Minister for the Environment’s Strategic Infrastructure Act will further diminish the right of communities to resist the imposition of projects, and will facilitate handing over our natural resources to corporations.

If the parties on the left truly support Shell to Sea, then the leadership of these parties must send a pre-election signal to Fianna Fail and Fine Gael that both the ending of the current project, and the repossession by the State of our natural resources, will be a condition for entering government. – Yours, etc,

CARMEL McKENNA, Avoca Co Wicklow.

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