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Rossport Update from the activists supporting the local Shell to Sea campaign

06 August 2007

After over eighteen months of providing a base for activists supporting the local Shell to Sea campaign, the Rossport Solidarity Camp was served notice to quit by Mayo County Council two weeks ago. For the past year and a half the council has accepted the camp’s existence without complaint.  It seems no coincidence that the council’s moves to evict the camp come at a time when Shell has been extensively surveying the estuary that runs alongside the camp in preparation for pipeline development. It is likely that pressure has been applied on the council to evict now to minimize the risk of disruption to the laying of the pipeline.

On Tuesday the 31st July, representatives from the camp attended a court hearing in Castlebar. Following submissions from the camp’s barrister regarding due process and the lack of time given to the camp to prepare a case, the judge reluctantly agreed to adjourn the case until September the 3rd. However, in the meantime, he imposed an ‘interim order of injunction’ which allows only two camp members to remain living on site. Notably, prior to the hearing, the legal representatives of both parties had agreed terms for an adjournment that allowed more people to remain on camp. The case is essentially a civil dispute and the judge’s imposition of more stringent terms is indicative, once again, of the partiality of the judiciary with regard to Shell to Sea cases.  

The primary function of the camp is to provide a space for people to support the local campaign in resisting Shell. This can be done most effectively if we have a secure base to work from. Consequently, at present, we have decided to vacate the camp in accordance with the judge’s order. In an effort to be prepared for the different potential scenarios we could face, we have sought out possible alternative locations for the camp. Some people in the campaign will continue to fight the eviction through the courts and after the hearing in September we will assess our options.

Community support following the eviction order has been overwhelming. Within a week an impressive fundraising effort had been initiated and we had offers of several houses and fields to relocate to. We have also had help with moving, cleaning, decorating and furnishing. Thanks to such incredible local assistance, one of these houses has been fixed up in the last week and is now being used as the temporary Rossport Solidarity Camp base. Over the next few weeks we hope to make several other locations inhabitable. They are in varying states of disrepair and if anyone has time, help with renovation would be much appreciated!!

Two weeks ago our situation seemed dire. Today, the spirit of the camp is vibrant. And so, while we’re sad to be temporarily giving up our beautiful seashore home, the Rossport Solidarity Camp lives on – albeit in a slightly less rustic form. Resistance to Shell continues unabated and as before, visitors are always welcome.

Aside from relocating the camp, the last few months of the campaign have been pretty eventful. Below is a list of key events with links to further info:

* In June, Shell’s illegal installation of a portacabin on the Mcgrath’s land in Poll a Thomais was met with massive community resistance. http://www.indymedia.ie/article/82983

* July 12th, three Erris fishermen were jailed for an alleged assault on Gardai at a Shell to Sea Picket last year.
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/83407

*  July 13th, construction work at the proposed refinery site was largely stopped for the day after a lock-on and other blockades prevented vehicles reaching the site. In the evening there was a mass trespass on the site.
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/83416
http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2007/07/376995.html

* July 21st, a national day of action was called and another mass trespass occurred.
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/83521

 Over the remaining summer months Shell will want to complete as much construction as possible before the harsh weather sets in. It’s the perfect time for a visit. The ‘camp’ can still provide a base for visitors, so, if you want to come and take action, support the daily picket or learn more about the campaign – come and stay. Ring the camp before you arrive for directions.   

Cheers,

RSC

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net and shell2004.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

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