“The Shell takeover of Ireland is now complete.” This was the message from Shell to Sea campaigners, including a number of éirígí activists, who raised a Shell flag at the Twenty-Six County Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government in Dublin on Sunday [August 29].
The action recreated an iconic Second World War image of US forces seizing the island of Iwo Jima, south of Japan, in 1945. The demonstration called on environment minister John Gormley to reject Shell’s foreshore license application to lay a pipeline in Kilcommon parish in County Mayo.
Shell are looking to lay a 4.9km gas pipeline that will travel from Broadhaven Bay through the Sruth Fhada Conn estuary, both of which are designated as Special Areas of Conservation. The proposed route is also close to the Dún Chiortáin mountain, which was devastated by over forty landslides in September 2003 that caused millions of euros of damage, and which remains environmentally unstable.
Sunday’s action took place as a public consultation of Shell’s application came to an end. Shell to Sea are calling on Gormley to reject Shell’s application, and should he go ahead with the plan they are calling for an oral hearing into the granting of the foreshore license so that the health, safety and environmental impacts can be properly assessed.
Cathaoirleach éirígí Brian Leeson commented: “Given Shell’s record on human rights and the environment internationally, the Shell to Sea campaigners should be commended for their work in challenging ‘green’ minister Gormley on the Twenty-Six county state’s collusion with Shell.
“This is nothing new of course, and political interference in support of Shell should come as a surprise to no-one. Earlier this year, an official Éamon Ryan’s Department of Energy and Natural Resources attempted to influence An Bord Pleanála’s safety standards for the Shell application.”
Leeson continued: “The environmental and health and safety impacts of this project on the local community are of huge concern. Given the slaveen attitude of the Twenty-Six County government, it’s clear that these concerns will only be respected when the giveaway of our natural resources is successfully challenged, and when we choose to exploit our natural resources for the benefit of all the people of Ireland, and not for the benefit of multinational corporations and their political flunkies.”
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