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Celtic League shows support for Shell protesters

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Celtic League coverage of Shell and Corrib dispute
CELTIC LEAGUE - PRESS INFORMATIONASSURANCES FROM SHELL HAVE HOLLOW RING!The Celtic League Secretary General has welcomed assurances givenby Shell about their operations in Nigeria and Ireland however hehas told Shell Vice President, Michael Wilkinson, that "many peopleview Shell as the cause of the grievances and injustices that areoccurring" in North Mayo. He also points out that events such as therecent jailing of three Mayo fishermen are exacerbating not helpingthe situation (see below):"Michael WilkinsonVice President Sustainable DevelopmentRoyal Dutch Shell plc.CArel van Bylandtlaan 302596 HR The HagueThe NetherlandsDear Michael WilkinsonMany thanks for your letter dated 26th June and your assurances thatRoyal Dutch Shell takes its commitment to the environment seriously.Concerning the Corrib project it was encouraging to see that Shellrecognised that mistakes had been made and was sorry for the hurtcaused to the local community in County Mayo. As you rightly state,the project can only succeed if a strong partnership is developed,so that trust can be built up between Shell and the local community.If this was Shell's original intention then I am sure the events surroundingthe arrest of the Rossport 5 would not have taken place and a morepeaceful moratorium would have been reached.Taking this into consideration, I was therefore surprised to learnthat other members of the local community in County Mayo were jailedlast week, including a father and son, for an alleged attack on amember of the Gardi at a protest against Shell in October 2006. Iam aware that Shell was not directly implicated in the proceedings,but there is a strong feeling amongst members of the community andprotesters that the Gardai are siding with Shell and working on theirbehalf. This is exacerbated by the high volume of officers who areoften present at the gas refinery site, protecting Shell's interests.The distrust of the rule of law that is building among protestersand the community at large is a serious matter and many people viewShell as the cause of the grievances and injustices that are occurring.As you will be aware trust, in such situations, is a two way process.We would therefore like to know what steps Royal Dutch Shell willpursue, to build future trusted links with the local community inBellanaboy and its environs.On another note, we were particularly pleased to hear that Shell feelsconfident that it is able to meet the revised 2009 deadline to endgas flaring in Nigeria. Regarding gas flaring in Nigeria. What furtherassurance can you give the League that the 2009 deadline will notbe revised again at a later stage?We look forward to hearing from you.Yours sincerelyRhisiart Tal-e-bot"See also Celtic News earlier items on this subject at: B MoffattDirector of InformationCeltic League18/07/07
CELTIC LEAGUE - PRESS INFORMATIONPROTEST OVER MAYO JAILINGSThe Celtic League Secretary General has protested to Irish JusticeMinister Brian Lenihan about the jailing of three Co Mayo fishermeninvolved in protests against Shell.League National branches are being requested as a matter of urgencyto add their voice to the growing protest over this latest attackon Shell to Sea campaigners."Mr Brian Lenihan TDMinister for Justice, Equality and Law ReformDepartment of Justice, Equality and Law Reform94 St Stephens GreenDublin 2ÉireDear Minister Brian Lenihan TDErris Fishermen and Shell to Sea protestI am writing to you following the jailing on Thurday 12th July atBellmullet District Court of three Erris fishermen.The men, Pat O'Donnell, Johnathan O'Donnell and Enda Carey receiveda three month prison sentence for their part in an attack on a Gardaat one of the Shell to Sea protests at Bellanaboy in North West CountyMayo in October 2006. However the evidence against all three men wasunsubstantial and it has been insinuated that the verdict was onlyupheld in an attempt to criminalise the Shell to Sea protesters.It does indeed seem that there is a widely held lack of faith in therule of law among the Shell to Sea protesters and a growing distrustin the Gardai themselves, who are increasingly seen to be siding withthe Royal Dutch Shell company. The Gardai's over enthusiastic andheavy handed approach has not helped the situation a great deal andfrom all appearances they are as much to blame, for the serious injurythat has already occurred, as the protesters.The divisions that have been created between the community and the'establishment' in Bellanaboy are most unfortunate. The democraticvoice of the people is clearly being ignored in favour of big businessand the principle of subsidiarity is nowhere to be seen. In a letterto the Celtic League Royal Dutch Shell regretted the mistakes thathad been made as part of the Corrib project and desired to build trustamong members of the local community.In view of the new stance that Royal Dutch Shell wants to adopt inrelation to the local community, the sentencing of the above namedlocal fishermen last week is not contusive to the development of afuture trusting partnership. The situation in Bellanaboy needs tobe reviewed if faith in law and order is to be restored among thelocal populace, so that the "culture and values of the area", as theUS based NGO Global Community Monitor so rightly put it, are affectedfurther.In its current stage, it is apparent to us that the first step inthe reconciliation process is the review of the judgement that sentencedthe three Erris fishermen to three months in jail for a crime, inconsideration of the evidence, they could not, in truth, be held whollyaccountable for. It is also of paramount importance that faith andtrust is restored in the Gardai by members of the local communityif a successful resolution is to be achieved.Congratulations on your recent appointment to the post of Ministerfor Justice, Equality and Law Reform and we look forward to hearingyour views on this matter soon.Yours sincerelyRhisiart Tal-e-botSee also Celtic News earlier items on this subject at: B MoffattDirector of InformationCeltic League18/07/07
CELTIC LEAGUE - PRESS INFORMATIONSHELL "REGRETS" EVENTS WHICH LED TO ROSSPORT FIVE IMPRISONMENT.Royal Dutch Shell (RDS) say they regret "the events that led to thejailing of 5 men in 2005" (the Rossport Five) and aver that whilethey "cannot change the past" the Company has learned lessons fromit.The statement has come from Michael Wilkinson, Vice President SustainableDevelopment, Royal Dutch Shell who was responding to a range of issuesraised with the company by the Celtic League Secretary General aboutits policies in both Ireland and Nigeria.In relation to Nigeria Michael Wilkinson says that the Company hasinvested considerably and feels "confident that we will be able tomeet the revised 2009 deadline to end gas flaring in Nigeria" whichis an environmental contentious issue.Notwithstanding the statement from Royal Dutch Shell the Celtic Leagueare aware that the companies policies in North Mayo are still generatingcontroversy a situation which seems to be at odds with the assurancesgiven by Mr Wilkinson.The Celtic League intend to continue to press the company on thesematters. (See RDS letter in full below):"Royal Dutch Shell plc26 June 2007Dear Mr Tal-e-botThank you very much for your letter dated 9th May 2007 to Jeroen vander Veer in which you query Shell's commitment to society and theenvironment. He has asked me to reply on his behalf.I would like to assure you that we take our commitment to the environmentand to society very seriously. They are in our Shell General BusinessPrinciples, which explicitly states our commitment to the Health,Safety, Security and the Environment (Principle 5). In addition, Principlessix and seven show our seriousness with regards to local communitiesand communications and engagement with them.With regards to your specific queries on gas flaring in Nigeria, wehave made substantial progress the last decade in reducing our flaring.Reducing flaring is an enormous task, coming from 1000 wells. Theseoperations are quite capital intensive as well. We have spent around$3 billion the last six years and we will spend a further $2-3 billionto complete the gas gathering facilities and pipelines programme.We feel confident that we will be able to meet the revised 2009 deadlineto end gas flaring in Nigeria.With regards to the Corrib project, mistakes have been made. Shellregrets the events that led to the jailing of 5 men in 2005. For thehurt that this caused the local community in County Mayo we are sorry.We cannot change the past, but the Company has learnt from it. Shelland its partners are fully committed to the project; however, it canonly succeed in partnership with the local community, with whom weare committed to building trust so that the full benefits of the projectcan be realised.In addition, onshore processing of Corrib gas is the best option fora field of this type and size. Best international industry practiseis now moving towards developing offshore gas fields and subsea tiebacksto an onshore gas terminal. This type of development is also beingfollowed in other projects such as Ormen Lange and Snohvit in Norway,Otway in Australia, Scarab Saffron in Egypt and more recently Goldeneyefield in the North sea.Gas pipelines have an excellent safety record. The onshore pipelineroute will be modified in consultation with the local community. Shellhas committed to limit the design pressure of the onshore pipelineto 144 bar. By way of comparison, a typical Bord Gáis Éireann crosscountry pipeline operates at a pressure of 85 bar. The Corrib pipelinewill have a wall thickness of 27.1mm (over an inch), compared to atypical Bord Gáis cross-country pipeline that has a normal wall thicknessof 9.52mm (roughly a third of an inch). Safety is our number one priorityand the project has been designed with this in mind. The final designconcept represents best international practise for a field of thistype and size.Your sincerelyMichael WilkinsonVice President Sustainable Development"See also Celtic News earlier items on this subject at: B MoffattDirector of InformationCeltic League08/07/07The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It worksto promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on abroad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlightshuman rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses onsocio-economic issues.TEL (UK)01624 877918 MOBILE (UK)07624 491609Internet site at:

Posted Date: 
30 July 2007 - 12:13am