A large tunnel boring machine brought in by Shell to dig a 4.9km tunnel under Sruwaddacon Bay inland to the Bellanaboy gas processing terminal is stuck at a crossroads in Co Mayo as it is too large to navigate the narrow roads.
Shell to Sea activists clash with gardai in Co Mayo early this morning. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Thee specialist tunnelling equipment was on its way from Dublin to the Sruwaddacon Estuary in north Mayo. It couldn't access the site at Aughoose because of its size and got stuck at the crossroads when it attempted an alternative route.
Mayo county manager Peter Hynes confirmed today that the local authority issued special permits several weeks ago for the heavy loads carried on the Shell lorries.
Mr Hynes said he could not confirm what weight is on the lorry but locals said it was carrying about150 tonnes.
Mr Hynes said expert personnel were still assessing the situation at the Glenamoy crossroads this afternoon, where one lorry from the convoy jack-knifed earlier this morning.
Earlier, there was a tense stand-off between protesters and gardaí as the machine made its way past Ballina and scuffles broke out with the huge Garda convey escorting it.
Two protesters initially blocked the road on the outskirts of Ballina during a “lock-on”, when they chained themselves to a drum filled with cement.
Gardaí with specialist cutting equipment cleared the scene, before Shell To Sea campaigner Maura Harrington and another 30 supporters against the controversial Corrib gas project blocked the road closer to Bellacorick bridge near Erris with a van.
“It was very violent and tense for about 30 minutes,” said one onlooker.“The protesters tried to climb on top of the van.There were scuffles with guards and people’s clothes were torn. One woman had her trousers torn off. Then about 50 gardaí held the crowd back until the convoy passed.”
A Garda spokeswoman said four arrests had been made. Two men who were charged with public order offences in Ballina last night will appear in court tomorrow. A further two men, who were arrested today in Belmullet are still being held.
The machine was held up again when more campaigners staged another lock-on about 10km from its final destination.
The equipment, still being transported from Dublin Port on three 40m trucks, is being escorted by four Garda vans carrying members of the Public Order Unit, other police vehicles and mini-buses of private security.
Protesters gathered at the port and followed the slow-moving convoy over the last two nights.
Con Coughlan, of the Rossport Solidarity Camp, said the machinery was going to destroy a beautiful estuary and a special area of conservation.
He claimed protesters were “detained illegally” and held in a car park instead of being arrested by gardaí.
“It was important we show there is still opposition against this given the amount of resources the State is willing to put behind it,” he said.
“There are loads of guards here and we were still able to delay it.
“We are putting those resources behind the richest company in the world when we have no money for the elderly people on hospital trolleys.
Sir, – Minister for Energy and Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte’s response to Fintan O’Toole’s article (August 16th) on our offshore licensing terms and his intention to issue new licences under the current licensing terms is disingenuous in the extreme (Opinion, August 18th).
Madam, - Terry Nolan of Shell's call for "real dialogue" on the Erris pipeline/refinery stand-off does not convince. He says, for example, that "the project has been through a rigorous planning and consents process". This is disingenuous: did he not notice Lorna Siggins's report in your edition of October 19th which referred to omissions from the original environmental impact statement regarding cold venting (the release of contaminated gas into the atmosphere), and explained how the Oireachtas Committee on Communications, Marine and Natural Resources refused to allow North Mayo residents to address it on this issue?
A portent of all that was to follow on the discovery of gas off the Mayo coast must surely have been that all of the local SIPTU and other workers who had been involved in the exploration were immediately dropped. Foreign workers from the Phillippines and elsewhere were flown in and out from that point onwards - without ever touching Irish soil.
A Co Mayo businessman told a protest rally this morning that an employee of Shell Ireland had offered him €15,000, with no strings attached, in 2005 for a sports centre he was developing.
Ciarán Ó Murchú, who runs an Irish language school and adventure centre at Elly Bay, said it sounded alarm bells for him because as a large employer he would be effectively intimidating his employees to support Shell if he accepted the money.
He said he would have felt like a traitor to the local community - although an offer of €15,000 was very tempting.
A marine biologist has warned that the increased incidence of strandings of a rare whale species may be due to underwater noise pollution caused by exploration companies.
Dr Simon Berrow, chairman of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, said increased seismic activity of exploration companies off the west coast could have contributed to the deaths of four Cuviers beaked whales over the past two months.
THE 1980 government was worried about scaring off potential oil company investors if it placed too much emphasis on the finding of the Whiddy oil terminal disaster tribunal that the two firms involved were seriously at fault.
On the 16th April 2009, a young man from County Tipperary was shot dead by Bolivian special forces in Santa Cruz, along with a Hungarian, Arpad Maygarosi and a Bolivian-Hungarian Eduardo Rosza Flores. The story flashed around the world with graphic images of the dead mens bodies sprawled on the floor of the Hotel Las Americas and covered in blood. The Bolivian authorities claimed that they were right wing terrorists, attempting to assasinate Bolivias first indigenous President, Evo Morales.
“Gardai said Mr Corduff had complained of head and chest pains necessitating an ambulance and two paramedics to travel out from Castlebar. They examined and found no injuries, according to gardai. There is no CCTV footage of an assault and no assault is being investigated by gardai. Mr Corduff had also made no complaint to gardai by yesterday. He spent much of Wednesday under the trailer and was eventually removed at around 4am.” (Jim Cusack, Security Correspondent, Sunday Independent, 26/4/09)
“He had been kicked all over the body and had LOC (Loss Of Consciousness). He had headaches, nausea and vomiting.” (Discharge report for Willie Corduff, Castlebar Hospital, 24/4/09)
1. Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Taoiseach if he will report on his meeting with the president of a company (details supplied) as confirmed by him in Dáil Éireann on 1 October 2003; when and the location in which it took place; the purpose of the meeting; the names of the persons who were in attendance; and the follow-up meetings or other contacts with the company that have taken place with him or officials of his Department. [23280/03]
"One more thing is worth remembering: there is no more contemptible company on earth than Shell Oil. .... They watched the Arctic melt and then they decided that would make it easier for them to drill for more oil. People will remember Shell as a watchword for greed the way we remember, all these millennia later, Pharaoh as a watchword for cruelty."
Bill McKibben - TheNation
"From a strategic planning perspective, this is the wrong site; from the perspective of Government policy which seeks to foster balanced regional development, this is the wrong site; from the perspective of minimising environmental impact, this is the wrong site; and consequently, from the perspective of sustainable development, this is the wrong site"
Kevin Moore, Senior Planning Inspector with An Bord Pleanala
"That was the first time Ireland tested out the state – corporate nexus. What they were doing was very simple. They were sorting out their template here in Rossport. The line is: 'go in hard',"
Shell to Sea campaigner Maura Harrington
“We declare that the Nation’s sovereignty extends not only to all men and women of the Nation, but to all its material possessions, the Nation’s soil and all its resources."
from the Democratic Programme of the First Dáil, 1919
“We’re justified in resorting to civil disobedience when our cause is valid, we’re motivated by that cause to disobey, we’ve made reasonable efforts to use legal channels first, and we’re sensitive to the likely impact on other people. Civil disobedience is not just justified, but praiseworthy, when it helps to remedy grave injustices in our society.”
Kimberley Brownlee, associate professor in legal and moral philosophy at the Warwick University Law School
“The overall impression given by the internal Garda investigative process was that complaints or matters of concern were put through a process of filtration or distillation so that, by the end of the process, any matter of concern had been removed as a form of impurity, and only what was good was found to remain.”
Senior counsel Seán Guerin's report into Sgt McCabe’s allegations of Garda wrongdoing
“It would be most unjust to jail these two men when I feel that a State agency had led the two men into error and illegality,”
Judge Martin Nolan on his decision not to jail 2 ex-Anglo directors. However at least 20 campaigners have spent time in jail for protesting against of the various bad and illogical decisions that State agencies have made over Corrib. One law for the rich, One for the poor.
"This is one of the most important stories of it's kind in Europe."
Ed Vulliamy speaking on Corrib and the campaign against it
"A former Producer and Editor at RTE, Betty Purcell, revealed that in 2009, she proposed and scheduled 21 documentaries and only one, ‘Living on the Edge’, a Would You Believe programme about Willie and Mary Corduff’s life on their farm in remote Rossport, was questioned and challenged by management. It was even suggested, she said, that because TV3 were about to do a documentary on Corrib ‘maybe we should leave it to them’.
She claimed the pressure on her team was ‘sustained’ and stated her belief that Shell personnel appeared to have ‘automatic access’ to senior management in RTE."
Áine Ryan - Mayo News
"In a State that has completely lost its moral core it’s almost inevitable that those who tenaciously pursue their principles and speaks out against the hypocrisy of power will find themselves silenced."
Robert Ballagh on the jailing of Margaretta D’Arcy