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Shell to Sea protest: Scuffles at Corrib gas project as tunneling equipment arrives

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By Sarah Stack Tuesday July 31 2012

THERE was a tense stand-off between protesters and gardai today as a machine to tunnel under a picturesque bay was brought in by contractors for Shell.

Scuffles broke out as a huge Garda convoy escorted specialist tunnelling equipment as it travelled from Dublin to the Sruwaddacon Estuary in north Mayo.

Two protesters initially blocked the road on the outskirts of Ballina in the early hours of the morning during a “lock-on”, when they chained themselves to a drum filled with cement.

Gardai with specialist cutting equipment cleared the scene, before Shell To Sea campaigner Maura Harrington and another 30 supporters against the controversial Corrib gas project blocked the road closer to Bellacorick bridge near Erris with a van.

“It was very violent and tense for about 30 minutes,” said one onlooker.

“The protesters tried to climb on top of the van.

“There were scuffles with guards and people’s clothes were torn.

“One woman had her trousers torn off.

“Then about 50 gardai held the crowd back until the convoy passed.”

A Garda spokesman said no arrests had been made.

The large tunnel boring machine, which is being used to dig a 4.9km (3-mile) tunnel under Sruwaddacon Bay and inland to the Bellanaboy Gas Processing Terminal, was held up again when more campaigners staged another lock-on about 10km (6 miles) from its final destination.

The equipment, still being transported from Dublin Port on three 40m (131ft) trucks, is being escorted by four Garda vans carrying members of the Public Order Unit, other police vehicles and mini-buses of private security.

Protesters gathered at the port and followed the slow-moving convoy over the last two nights.

Con Coughlan, of the Rossport Solidarity Camp, said the machinery was going to destroy a beautiful estuary and a special area of conservation.

He claimed protesters were “detained illegally” and held in a car park instead of being arrested by gardai.

“It was important we show there is still opposition against this given the amount of resources the State is willing to put behind it,” he said.

“There are loads of guards here and we were still able to delay it.

“We are putting those resources behind the richest company in the world when we have no money for the elderly people on hospital trolleys.

“There is something wrong in that world.”

– Sarah Stack

SOURCE

RELATED EMAIL SEND OUT BY ACTIVISTS AT 23.34 GMT LAST NIGHT

Just to let people know that Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) (that Shell are planning to use to bore a 4.2m tunnel through Sruwaddacon estuary) has been spotted in Dublin Port.  The word is that it will be leaving Dublin port tonight and is expected to take 2 or 3 nights to arrive in Erris.  It is rumored that it will be coming the Sligo route and then going through Ballina and traveling in a 3 truck convoy with alot of Gardaí.  

It will be traveling slowly, so probably moving overnight, and expected to arrive in Erris early Tuesday morning. This is a really vital bit of equipment so disruption to the specially constructed TBM will delay the project.

Also any information on the progress of the TBM and convoy could be useful so please let us know on camp if you know it’s whereabouts, preferably to the camp phone (085-1141170) or by email ([email protected]) or on Twitter using #corribTBM

If you can make it to Erris in the next day or so then it would be great, either to join the protest or as support.  There will be roles in continuing action and support over the next few days so if you have a bit of free time then please consider it.

You can read about about the Tunnelling machine here: http://shelltosea.com/content/corrib-tunnelling-machine-built
And one campaigners view on the TBM here:  http://shelltosea.com/content/shell-and-children-lir

The camp


www.rossportsolidaritycamp.org
www.shelltosea.com

Picture of the Tunnelling Machine now said to be stuck in Glenamoy with its escort of armed police.

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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