"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.”
News release - Issued by Shell to Sea - Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012
PRISON SENTENCE FOR 52-YEAR-OLD SHELL TO SEA SPOKESPERSON
-- Local carpenter to be jailed for obstructing Shell's inland refinery project --
Mayo carpenter and Shell to Sea spokesperson Terence Conway (52) was yesterday (Tuesday, February 21st, 2012) given two 3-month prison sentences in Belmullet District Court. The convictions relate to Mr Conway's ongoing involvement in the campaign against Shell's Corrib gas pipeline.
Mr Conway is appealing the case to the Circuit Court. Until then he has been released on bail.
Terence Conway is a carpenter born in Inver, Co Mayo, one of the villages directly affected by Shell's Corrib gas project. Mr Conway has been involved in the Shell to Sea campaign since he returned home from working in the United States in 2005. Since 2008 he has acted as a national spokesperson for the campaign.
It was noted before the judge that Mr. Conway had never come to the attention of the courts until Shell came to the area.
Commenting in his actions Mr. Conway said, "I took this action because of the situation in Erris. What we have been subjected to by the actions of Shell and the State is worthy of a dictatorship, the police are working as an arm of the oil companies."
"We have been portrayed as thugs and criminals. What I did was extremely peaceful. What the community and our supporters have done is peaceful protest. We have been subjected to violent policing. Shell are the real criminals here. While I face the prospect of time in Castlerea prison, Shell and the Gardaí remain unprosecuted for their numerous breaches of the law and are continuing their partnership in crime."
The sentencing took place on the second day of a week long special sitting of Belmullet district court. In total, 19 campaigners are facing 80 charges.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
The Shell to Sea Campaign has three main aims:
1) That any exploitation of the Corrib gas field be done in a safe way that will not expose the local community in Erris to unnecessary health, safety and environmental risks.
2) To renegotiate the terms of the Great Oil and Gas Giveaway, which sees Ireland’s 10 billion barrels of oil equivalent* off the West Coast go directly to the oil companies, with the Irish State retaining a 0% share, no energy security of supply and only 25% tax on profits against which all costs can be deducted.
3) To seek justice for the human rights abuses suffered by Shell to Sea campaigners due to their opposition to Shell’s proposed inland refinery.
*This figure is based on the estimate, issued by the Department of Communications, Energy & Natural Resources (DCENR) in 2006, that the amount of recoverable oil and gas in the Rockall and Porcupine basins, off Ireland’s west coast, is 10 BBOE (billion barrels of oil equivalent). Based on the average price of a barrel of oil for 2010 of $79, this works out at $790 billion, or €580 billion. This does not take account of further oil and gas reserves off Ireland’s south & east coasts or inland. The total volume of oil and gas which rightfully belongs to Ireland could be significantly higher. Also, as the global price of oil rises in the coming years, the value of these Irish natural resources will rise further.