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Update on Shell Corrib Gas Controversy

From the Shell to Sea Campaign front line…

Opposition to the Corrib Gas Project in Ireland continues…

The 2006 policy of “no arrest” has been replaced with a policy of arrest, charge and get campaigners in jail out of the way. The abuse of the court system has been rampant with local retired teacher Maura Harrington jailed 4 times this year for alleged incidents during protest against the project.

Niall Harnett has also been targeted and jailed for alleged obstruction and assault on a Garda – despite video evidence shown in court which suggests otherwise.

Both are out on bail for appeal.

More recently, in a case brought by local woman Monica Muller, Shell have been found guilty of contempt of court – exactly the same reason used to jail the Rossport 5 for three months back in 2005. Sentencing has been deferred after Shell stated that they were “unhappy” with the ruling.

Shell to Sea court resumes next week with a raft of Shell to Sea cases to be heard in Belmullet from Monday the 28th to Wednesday the 30th, with Thursday and Friday also set aside if extra time is needed. There are court dates being scheduled for the rest of the year as well, with the possibility of more jail sentences being handed down.

Since the beginning of June water actions against dredging and the Solitaire – Shell’s contracted pipe laying ship – continued, forcing Shell’s dredging fleet out of Broadhaven bay on one occasion.

In one of the most shocking episodes of the campaign so far, a fishing boat was boarded and sunk out at sea in the dead of night by armed masked men. The crew – two local men opposed to the project – were held at gunpoint for hours and then left aboard a sinking ship. Thankfully they managed to launch the life raft and escape with their lives to tell the story.

This attack was not totally out of the blue however as earlier in the year Willie Corduff was badly beaten inside the landfall site by masked men.

In anticipation of protest against the Solitaire, the State sent in a force amounting to a hostile occupation – 350 Gardai, with Garda RIBs and a Garda helicopter, 2 navy warships with attendant RIBs and divers & an air force plane. This is on top of Shell’s private army of 200 IRMS security guards. IRMS is a company infamously specialising in “armed and unarmed” international security.

The Gardai continued abusing the public order act in a bid to quell legitimate protest on land. People were held in custody for days and only released on bail if they would stay out of County Mayo until their cases were heard. These over-the-top measures were for alleged minor offences, with none of the accused having previous convictions.

Oral Hearing

As Shell ploughed on with the Offshore pipeline in Broardhaven, An Bord Pleanala held an oral hearing into Shell’s application for a modified onshore pipeline route to link the refinery to the now laid offshore pipeline. The verdict is expected to be announced or before the 23rd of October. During the oral hearing, local expertise built up over the years, along with expert witnesses, forced Shell into admitting that their project creates a killzone along the pipeline route in the event of an accident. If permission is granted Shell say they will begin work on the onshore section next year. and its sister non-profit websites,,,,,, and are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia feature.

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