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STATEMENT FROM THE REVEREND DESMOND M TUTU ON SHELL CORRIB GAS PROJECT

AFRI, Action From Ireland Press Announcement: 11-05-09

Afri, 134 Phibsborough Road, Dublin 7, Ireland.

Tel: +353 (0)1 882 7563/7581 Fax: +353 (0)1 882 7576 

 

e-mail: [email protected]

web: www.afri.ie 

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STATEMENT FROM THE REVEREND DESMOND M TUTU

Archbishop of Cape Town

11 May 2009

As patron of the justice and peace organisation Afri, a disturbing development in the ongoing resource conflict in Erris, County Mayo, has been brought to my attention. 

A peaceful protestor, Goldman International Environmental Award Winner Mr. Willie Corduff has been physically attacked, under cover of darkness, by the agents of a multinational corporation, resulting in his being hospitalised and left severely hurt and traumatised.

(Ref: http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2009/0424/1224245293902.html)

I am aware that the conflict centres around attempts by a consortium comprised of Shell, Statoil and Marathon to bring raw gas ashore in Erris, by means of a high-pressure pipeline running through the community, to a processing plant at Ballinaboy. 

This is opposed by local people, particularly in the parish of Kilcommon where the project is based, because of fears for their health and safety (including possible contamination of their drinking water).

A compromise proposed by three members of the Catholic clergy and supported by a majority of people in the locality, would have seen an onshore processing plant located in an unpopulated area away from the community’s water supply, eliminating the need for high pressure pipelines. 

This proposed compromise has, unfortunately, been rejected by Shell and the lrish government.

The strength of feeling in the community regarding this issue is illustrated by the fact that five people, who became known as the Rossport 5, spent 94 days in prison for their non-violent opposition to the project going ahead in its current form. Mr. Corduff, one of the Rossport 5, went on to win the prestigious Goldman international environmental award, known as the Green Nobel Prize, in 2005. 

It is in regard to the attack on Mr. Corduff that I particularly wish to make my concerns known. Mr. Corduff is a small farmer who has lived all his life and raised his family in this area. His only interest and motivation is the protection of his family and the welfare of his community. His opposition to the gas project has always been entirety peacefuI and non-violent.

ENDS

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BACKGROUND

Goldman International Prize: info + video on Willie Corduff

http://www.goldmanprize.org/node/605

 

Willie Corduff on BBC World: + video

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/hardtalk/6960111.stm

 

Willie Corduff on Late Late show

http://www.rte.ie/tv/latelate/20050930.html

 

Independent background report on Corrib gas 

http://www.publicinquiry.ie/reports.php#ld197

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Afri: (0)1 882 7576 

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