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Canadians find common cause with Rossport

September 3rd, 2010

Dublin/Los Angeles—An Irish documentary film, in competition at the 2010 Toronto Film Festival, has a surprising life-imitating-art-imitating-life quality to it in the wake of the Canadian oil sands pipeline spill in Michigan, late July 2010.

THE PIPE, from Galway based Director Risteard Ó Domhnaill and Producer Rachel Lysaght, premieres on Friday, September 10th (AMC 2, 09:45pm), and repeats again on September 11th(AMC 2, 09:00am) and 19th (AMC 9, 12:15pm) at the Toronto Film Festival (

THE PIPE tells the story of the local, grassroots community effort in Rossport, County Mayo (Ireland) to halt the planned laying of a gas pipeline by Shell Oil, across fishing grounds and pastoral farmland, following the discovery of a large supply field offshore.

Shell Oil, with the taciturn approval of the Irish State government, had planned to begin the laying of the pipeline underwater, off the Mayo coast. The proposed pipeline would then snake over working farms and pristine landscape for miles to its destination. The local community, fearing loss of livelihood, environmental disasters, non-transparent corporate profits and the invoking of “eminent domain”, rose up in non-violent rebellion. Unfortunately, not all sides knew about the non-violent clause.

Shell Oil is also one of the three largest owners of the Canadian Oil Sands projects in Alberta and Saskatchewan. The Canadian oil industry has been looking to expand pipeline access and exports to the U.S. via a planned Northern Gateway project to the West Coast and the TransCanada Keystone XL Line to the U.S. Gulf Coast.

The Enbridge ENB-T pipeline break on July 27, 2010 has, to date, spilled some three million litres of crude into Michigan’s Kalamazoo River (source:

THE PIPE Director Risteard Ó Domhnaill and Producer Rachel Lysaght will be in attendance at TIFF, and will be conducting enhanced Q/A sessions after the screenings to include questions from the Canadian communities opposing the oil sands projects.


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