"The Government have clearly sent the message to Shell, ‘you can do whatever you want’. Fortunately due to protest, the refinery remains unconnected to the gas field. If, as Shell planned, gas had been flowing by now, we would potentially all be dealing with a gas leak and explosion.”
Now for a serious point, no irony, no satire:- what's been allowed to happen in Erris for the last ten years regarding the Shell Corrib gas project has significantly devalued the standard of democracy in Ireland. It is a symptom of a wider malaise, for which we're paying by selling off our independence, our very status as a democratic state - lack of proper participatory democratic process.
We've been lead to this point by a gang of unscrupulous dons, none of whom have been made to even acknowledge their crimes.
Crime has become accepted as the norm in Erris, upheld by the agents of state we are brought up to believe protect and support democratic institutions.
There is a painting by Jack B. Yeats in the Hugh Lane gallery called The Maggie Man. The Maggie Man invites fair-goers to pay to throw stones at a wooden roughcut figure called a maggie - gléas magaidh - to encourage it to fend off evil. Those we have allowed to become our leaders have made a maggie of our democracy. They have reduced us to abusing it, diminishing it piecemeal, paying to do so, with blind faith in its automatic powers, while thinking we are engaged in normal democratic activity.
This is what drove me to write Ailliliú Fionnuala. - Donal O'Kelly