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Oil piracy and resistance in Ireland home


The Guardian, Friday 19 June 2009

A pity that John Vidal, in his account of indigenous resistance to oilcompanies (‘We are fighting for our lives and our dignity‘, 13 June) did not pick up on your excellent article “Fuelling the fury” (G2, 10 June) about Shell’s gas project at Rossport in Ireland. If he had, he would have discovered a drastic escalation of violence there on the very day “Fuelling the Fury” was published.

A local fisherman, Pat O’Donnell, had his boat hijacked out at sea by armed and masked men and sunk. He had long been protesting against Shell’s pipe-laying operations as destructive to his offshore livelihood; it now looks as though someone has decided that his livelihood should in any event be destroyed, to ensure he’ll be incapable of further maritime protest. Shell has denied any involvement of its employees in this act of piracy, but it appears someone else may have intervened.
Margaretta D’Arcy and John Arden
Galway, Ireland

If readers want to support indigenous peoples’ struggle to defend their lands, they can lobby their MP to sign early day motion 1299, urging the UK government to sign the only international law for tribal and indigenous peoples, International Labour Organisation convention 169. It will become the world’s benchmark when more governments agree to it. The UK has refused to ratify ILO 169 on the basis that there are no tribal peoples in this country. But this ignores the impact of British companies and development projects on the lives of tribal peoples across the world, as so graphically portrayed in your article. (More information:
Fiona Watson
Survival International and its also non-profit sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

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