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Protest at the 2nd Annual Oil and Gas Summit

By: 
Earth First Eire
Environmentalists protesting at the the 2nd Annual Oil and Gas Summit in Dublin yesterday were told “I don't care about the planet, burn the lot” after they entered the conference venue to make their voices heard. Several were also pushed to the ground although some managed to start a debate with the speaker. We have been sent the following detailed account of yesterdays protest.

“Protest at the 2nd Annual Oil and Gas Summit

Yesterday, Wednesday the 4th of June, activists from No Fracking Dublin, Earth First Éire, Shell to Sea, Young Friends of the Earth and other concerned citizens gathered outside the Conrad Hotel on Earlsfort Terrace, Dublin 2 to protest Ireland's reliance on fossil fuels and the giveaway of natural resources by the state.

Inside the hotel, delegates from oil & gas exploration and production companies, state and semi-state regulatory bodies and industry representatives met to discuss their prospects in Ireland. Topics include the Larne-Lough Neagh Basin in Co. Antrim which faces the prospect of hydraulic fracturing, an overview of Ireland's regulatory regime, exploration in Northern Ireland and most notably "How will Ireland adapt to accommodate a burgeoning oil industry?"

The latter topic is key to the protesters anger, namely that the balance of power lies heavily on the side of the industry and that it effectively dictates to the state the terms under which they are allowed to drill and subsequently produce.

Con Coughlan, a protester from Mayo: "Energy extraction companies have failed to address the concerns of locals in the past in Ireland and have been involved in huge corruption scandals abroad. If these companies get their foot in the door they will devastate beautiful parts of the country while lining their pockets and when it all goes wrong it will be the people that will be left to clean up the mess"

Marcus, from Young Friends of the Earth, when asked why he was present today said: "With the impending fracking operations on our doorstep, its terrifying to think that our government would allow companies to risk the health of our environment for a quick quid. We have seen cases of failed frack wells poisoning aquifers with disastrous effects and now they want to drill here. There has even been mention of exploration near the Irish cold water coral reefs on the Atlantic shelf. These delegates have no concept of the delicate nature of the eco-systems that they are attempting to work in."

There was a presence outside the hotel from early morning and as the day wore on more people joined the demonstration, bringing a diversity of issues into the public forum. Some people handed out leaflets to passers-by and spoke to them about the threat of fracking, runaway climate change and the role of the state in handing over control of fossil fuel deposits to multinationals. Some respectfully approached passing workers offering trays of dirty, "fracked" water for them to sample. No bottles were accepted.

At approximately half past two, a group of seven protesters entered the hotel in an attempt to engage the delegates on the issues that were being raised outside. They were first blocked in the foyer by members of staff and management but eventually, and in some confusion, reached the banquet hall where the summit was taking place.

In attempting to enter the ballroom, several protesters were assaulted by the management, being struck, shoved to the ground and their limbs twisted. The higher-ups of the hotel staff were also quite verbal, threatening an escalation of violence if the protesters did not leave the hotel.

One man, who appeared to be in charge, threatened to break the neck of a demonstrator and was heard to say "I don't care about the planet, burn the lot. Rape the lot".

Three demonstrators were able to remain inside the ballroom for some time and debated with the speaker about cases of corruption in Ireland allowing the oil and gas industry to operate with impunity and unbridled greed. The speaker was willing to engage and defended himself and his position in the industry by saying that we should use our vote to stop them, as this is a democracy.

In response, Con Coughlan highlights that: "Previous experiences have taught us that the state is willing to facilitate the industries activities through lax regulation and corporate policing. The community in North West Mayo have tried to tackle the state/corporate complex for over a decade and have endured police brutality and an absence of justice when attempting to raise the issue."

After a short time the protesters left and Gardai were called to the scene but no arrests were made. The demonstration continued and grew in numbers to about 40, holding many colourful banners and placards. While many members of the public seemed unaware of issues such as fracking, there was a predominantly positive response from those who stopped, offering messages of support and solidarity.

The summit continues today, Thursday, and demonstrations will go forward as planned. Protesters call for and welcome further support in their continued presence in front of the Conrad Hotel throughout the day.”

Words from Earth First Eire press release, image is modified from the album posted to the No Fracking Dublin page

— with Alan Dawson.

Photo: Environmentalists protesting at the the 2nd Annual Oil and Gas Summit in Dublin yesterday were told “I don't care about the planet, burn the lot” after they entered the conference venue to make their voices heard.  Several were also pushed to the ground although some managed to start a debate with the speaker.  We have been sent the following detailed account of yesterdays protest.</p />
<p>“Protest at the 2nd Annual Oil and Gas Summit</p>
<p>Yesterday, Wednesday the 4th of June, activists from No Fracking Dublin, Earth First Éire, Shell to Sea, Young Friends of the Earth and other concerned citizens gathered outside the Conrad Hotel on Earlsfort Terrace, Dublin 2 to protest Ireland's reliance on fossil fuels and the giveaway of natural resources by the state.</p>
<p>Inside the hotel, delegates from oil & gas exploration and production companies, state and semi-state regulatory bodies and industry representatives met to discuss their prospects in Ireland. Topics include the Larne-Lough Neagh Basin in Co. Antrim which faces the prospect of hydraulic fracturing, an overview of Ireland's regulatory regime, exploration in Northern Ireland and most notably "How will Ireland adapt to accommodate a burgeoning oil industry?"</p>
<p>The latter topic is key to the protesters anger, namely that the balance of power lies heavily on the side of the industry and that it effectively dictates to the state the terms under which they are allowed to drill and subsequently produce.</p>
<p>Con Coughlan, a protester from Mayo: "Energy extraction companies have failed to address the concerns of locals in the past in Ireland and have been involved in huge corruption scandals abroad. If these companies get their foot in the door they will devastate beautiful parts of the country while lining their pockets and when it all goes wrong it will be the people that will be left to clean up the mess"</p>
<p>Marcus, from Young Friends of the Earth, when asked why he was present today  said: "With the impending fracking operations on our doorstep, its terrifying to think that our government would allow companies to risk the health of our environment for a quick quid. We have seen cases of failed frack wells poisoning aquifers with disastrous effects and now they want to drill here. There has even been mention of exploration near the Irish cold water coral reefs on the Atlantic shelf. These delegates have no concept of the delicate nature of the eco-systems that they are attempting to work in."</p>
<p>There was a presence outside the hotel from early morning and as the day wore on more people joined the demonstration, bringing a diversity of issues into the public forum. Some people handed out leaflets to passers-by and spoke to them about the threat of fracking, runaway climate change and the role of the state in handing over control of fossil fuel deposits to multinationals. Some respectfully approached passing workers offering trays of dirty, "fracked" water for them to sample. No bottles were accepted.</p>
<p>At approximately half past two, a group of seven protesters entered the hotel in an attempt to engage the delegates on the issues that were being raised outside. They were first blocked in the foyer by members of staff and management but eventually, and in some confusion, reached the banquet hall where the summit was taking place.</p>
<p>In attempting to enter the ballroom, several protesters were assaulted by the management, being struck, shoved to the ground and their limbs twisted. The higher-ups of the hotel staff were also quite verbal, threatening an escalation of violence if the protesters did not leave the hotel.</p>
<p>One man, who appeared to be in charge, threatened to break the neck of a demonstrator and was heard to say "I don't care about the planet, burn the lot. Rape the lot".</p>
<p>Three demonstrators were able to remain inside the ballroom for some time and debated with the speaker about cases of corruption in Ireland allowing the oil and gas industry to operate with impunity and unbridled greed. The speaker was willing to engage and defended himself and his position in the industry by saying that we should use our vote to stop them, as this is a democracy.</p>
<p>In response, Con Coughlan highlights that: "Previous experiences have taught us that the state is willing to facilitate the industries activities through lax regulation and corporate policing. The community in North West Mayo have tried to tackle the state/corporate complex for over a decade and have endured police brutality and an absence of justice when attempting to raise the issue."</p>
<p>After a short time the protesters left and Gardai were called to the scene but no arrests were made. The demonstration continued and grew in numbers to about 40, holding many colourful banners and placards. While many members of the public seemed unaware of issues such as fracking, there was a predominantly positive response from those who stopped, offering messages of support and solidarity.</p>
<p>The summit continues today, Thursday, and demonstrations will go forward as planned. Protesters call for and welcome further support in their continued presence in front of the Conrad Hotel throughout the day.”</p>
<p>Words from Earth First Eire press release, image is modified from the album posted to the No Fracking Dublin page

Posted Date: 
5 June 2014