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Shell gig invite turned down by The Saw Doctors

Article by Lorna Siggins published by the Irish Times Friday 6 March 2015

Shell gig invite turned down by The Saw Doctors

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Folk rock band The Saw Doctors has turned down an invitation from Shell E&P Ireland to play at a gig in north Mayo this month celebrating the competion of the Corrib gas terminal.

The Tuam band, which is currently on a break from live appearances, said it was “not interested in playing for Shell E&P Ireland”.

However, Shell has confirmed that some musicians among the company’s own staff would be performing instead.

Band manager Ollie Jennings received the invitation from Shell several months ago, and confirmed this week that the musicians refused to accept the booking.

Last year, organisers of Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in Sligo were criticised for accepting sponsorship of the annual traditional music festival from Shell, and said they would return the monies.

Lead guitarist and vocalist Leo Moran, who is currently performing with Waterboys musician Anthony Thistlethwaite, explained on Friday that the company must not have been aware of song on the “Rossport Five” which was written by former band member Pádraig Stevens.

The number, Fill Her Up There Mister Oilman, was recorded by Moran and Thistlethwaite for their album, Flyin’ It!.

It was written in tribute to the men known as the “Rossport Five” who served 94 days in jail in 2005 for contempt of court over their opposition to the Corrib gas pipeline.

The pipeline has since been re-routed several times, with the final approved route constructed under Sruwaddacon estuary, a special area of conservation, between Rossport and Pollathomas.

Shell says it has booked The Lunar Ticks to play at the party in Belmullet on March 19th to mark completion of the Ballinaboy terminal construction.

The Mayo-based band which plays classic rock hits includes some musicians who have been working on the Corrib project long term, the company said.

“For us, that’s an even better option than The Saw Doctors,” a Shell spokesman said.

Gas from the controversial project is scheduled to come on stream in May/June, subject to final State authorisation.

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