"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.”
This year's Good Friday walk in Kilcommon took place from Glengad to Aughoose along the L1202. This is the road beside Sruth Mhada Chonn estuary - where Shell intend to bore a tunnel to house 5km of the 8km planned onshore Corrib gas pipeline.
Every year walkers bring the crosses bearing the names of the Ogoni Nine from a memorial ground across the road from Shell's Ballinaboy refinery site. The Ogoni Nine were a group of activists organising a peaceful movement demanding the survival of the Ogoni people in the face of destruction from the activities of Shell in the Niger delta. They were murdered by the Nigerian military dictatorship of the day at the behest of Shell in 1995.
People started to gather from midday and at about 12.30 there were 50 odd of us when Terence nearly deafened me with a whistle to start the walk. We stopped outside the new compound at Glengad for a moment and a few photos before continuing on.
It was a nice change to be able to walk that road in peace. Exactly 2 months earlier Shell moved into Glengad in force to fence off a compound for the LVI - Landfall Valve Installation. Since then a large force of Gardaí have patrolled the route, forcing other road users to yield to Shell construction convoys by using obstruction, illegal detention and assault.
It was nice to walk along the road for the sake of walking - we're usually on the way somewhere with something to get done. Some people naturally walked faster and the group stretched out, but the rain stayed off and eventually we all made it back to Aughoose dry.
I was one of the slower ones and coming around the bend of the road at Aughoose a mirage awaited us - the old campaign trailer parked in a lay by with lots of familiar faces chatting and drinking tea. With just two days of lent left there must have been alot of fasts broken with all of the cakes, biscuits and tea brought along for the event.
After a while a few people went down to another new compound built by Shell between Aughoose and Bellanaboy where they intend to cross under the road with the pipe. We walked along into the path a cleared through the woods for laying the pipe from Aughoose to the refinery for a look and to take a few photos.
Next weekend the Rossport Solidarity Camp is hosting a direct action skillshare. So if you are interested come on up to Mayo for a weekend of direct action skillshare, meet the community and see this incredible place.