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Irish Independent: March over gas pipeline may become latest flashpoint

Published: Feb 14, 2007

A PROTEST march to the controversial Corrib Gas refinery in north Mayo – billed as ‘peaceful and non-confrontational’ – is already shaping up as the latest angry flashpoint between protestors and gardai.

Despite being flagged as a carnival-style ‘Solidarity Day’ by the Shell to Sea campaign, this Friday’s event would appear to have all the ingredients for further volatile exchanges over the controversial pipeline and terminal.

In a statement, the Shell to Sea group in Mayo said it was holding the ‘Solidarity Day’ on February 16 to permit people around the country to show their support for the communities of Rossport and Bellanaboy in the campaign. “Musicians are especially welcome. Stewards will be on duty to facilitate the good humour of the event,” the statement added.

But yesterday Shell to Sea spokesperson Mary Corduff confirmed the event had been timed for 7.30am – coinciding directly with the daily convoy of workers’ vehicles travelling to the refinery. She refused to rule out the possibility of those taking part deliberately walking in front of the workers’ vehicles – a tactic which has repeatedly led to physical confrontation between protestors and gardai.

Gardai have warned they will not tolerate any disturbances during the protest and will deal firmly with protesters who overstep the mark.

Brian McDonald and Tom Shiel

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