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Irish Times letter

This letter appeared in todays Irish Times, thought some of you might be interested in reading it, if their is a campign amongst students in UCD it would be ideal to make links with other sectors in the University, academics, trade unions etc,
Madam, - The continuing imprisonment of Micheál Ó Seighin, Vincent McGrath, Willie Corduff, Phillip McGrath and James Philbin is an affront to the conscience of Irish society. A consortium composed of Shell, Marathon and Statoil used the courts to jail these five men from Rossport. Yet these companies acted outside the law when they began laying a pipeline without ministerial consent.Mayo was the birthplace of Michael Davitt's crusade against landlordism in the 19th century. Tragically, we are now witnessing a modern form of this abuse of power, which treats people with the same disdain as the absentee landlords did in the past.No convincing argument has been advanced for why the company cannot process natural gas at sea rather than building a high-pressure pipeline so close to people's homes. At the original Bord Pleanála hearing, however, it was acknowledged that the consortium led by Shell would save €360 million a year and reduce its operating costs by 40 per cent.But why should large corporations be allowed to put their balance sheets above the health and safety of people who have lived all their lives in this beautiful area? As a group of more than 40 UCD academics, we are deeply shocked by the attitude of the Government. Instead of protecting its citizens, it appears to have acted as a mouthpiece for the corporations.For the first time, the Irish State has used a compulsory acquisition order solely for the benefit of a private corporation.We note that Coillte, a State-owned company, refuses to disclose the price it got for selling land to the consortium for a refinery.Why has the Taoiseach failed to meet the families of the jailed men when he was so quick to hold a special meeting with the president of Shell in 2003 to encourage him to re-apply for planning permission after it was originally turned down by An Bord Pleanála? Is the suffering of Irish citizens less important than the troubles of company executives?The Government is trying to sit out this whole case in the hope that the sense of outrage that has swept the country will disappear. We urge people not to let their anger grow cold.- Yours, etc,CATHERINE HANDLEY,BRIAN McBREEN,NIAMH HARDIMAN,LORETTA CRAWLEY,DAMIAN DALTON,GEORGE HILTON,BETTY HILLIARD,JAMES CURRY,JOHN CONNOLLY,KEVIN JENNINGS,DYMPNA DEVINE,MARY GILMARTIN,LESLIE DALY,SEAN CALLANAN,ANDREW LYALL,MAIRE NICGIOLLA PHADRAIG,KENNETH MONAGHAN,CARMEL McCARTHY,STEPHEN MENNELL,MARY GALLAGHER,GERALD MILLS,WILLIE NOLAN,KEVIN HURLEY,KATHERINE O'DONNELL,DYMPNA DEVINE,DEBBIE SCANLAN,ROSEMARY CUNNIFFE,KATHLEEN LYNCH,PATRICIA KENNEDY,MICHAEL TIMMS,AILEEN O'CARROLL,EMER NÍ CHEALLAIGH,NOREEN BARRON,THERESA URBAINCZYK,ROLAND ERNE,ANNE O'CONNOR,TIM MOONEY,IARFHLAITH WATSON,DÁITHI O HOGAIN,STEVE LOYAL,KIERAN ALLEN,UCD,Dublin 4.

Posted Date: 
29 September 2005 - 5:11pm