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Report and photos - Solidarity Camp Gathering

Report about a major gathering at Rossport Solidarity Camp, which is a protest camp that is part of a community based defence of part of Ireland’s Atlantic coast under threat from Shell, Statoil, Marathon, and the Irish state.

This wooden cottage, called ‘the communal’, served as an info centre
Our new marquee, the meeting place and cinema
The Bitchin’ Kitchen
The permanent camp, there were a lot more tents for weekend
Introductory Talk
Morning Circle
Langers on the Beach
Walk on the Beach
Playing hurley on the beach

Some people cycled from Dublin to Mayo for the gathering
Saturday Night's Trad Session

Folk leaving the camp for the tour on Sunday
Sean Harrington, who gave part of the tour
Tour meets the picket at the refinery site
The discussion about privatisation of natural resources
Relaxing in the communal
Grubs Up
On the weekend of the 2nd to 5th of June the gorgeous weather enabled one hundred and fifty people to enjoy the beach location and stunning landscape of the gathering at Rossport Solidarity Camp. Many people took pleasure in being able to cool off in the sea. The gathering was well attended by interested individuals and groups from all over the country, Cork, Dublin, Mayo, Westmeath, Roscommon, Galway, Derry, as well as people from Britain. Workshops were inspirationally opened by one from Jose Sagarnaga from the Bolivia Solidarity Campaign and successfully linked global struggles and stories of success from other cultures with the campaign to defend Erris from Shell. The issue of privatisation of natural resources was discussed and debated in a forum which was addressed both by Jose and by Maura Harrington of Shell to Sea. On a similar theme there was a report back by the Global Women's Strike from a recent trip to Venezuela where the grassroots, led by women, are organising for the return of oil wealth and other resources into their communities, this including the introduction of wages for housework. Besides the heavy stuff the social aspect of the weekend was a winner, with a trad session at the local pub on the Saturday night, followed by a camp fire on the beach, and on Sunday night the camp lifted its no drink rule for the evening and the Tir na gCasta sound system provided music for people to get thirsty to. On Sunday people went on a coach tour of the area, as Shell’s mis-development ranges over many kilometres, this allowed people to see the potential devastation the planned pipeline and planned refinery would inflict on the population and the beautiful environment of this part of the west of Ireland. Also on Sunday Micheal O Seighin, a retired local teacher and former political prisoner, gave an informative and entertaining talk about the history, folklore, flora and fauna of Erris. As well as sitting on arses and listening to people talk there was an opportunity for people to engage in the practical skills of bender building. Bender being a large tent made out of bendable hazel poles and pallets. For the artistically inclined there was a long drawing workshop on the beach, which is a form of collective art project where a bunch of people get together to make a painting; the finished art work was displayed in the meeting place marquee. Food for the whole event was deliciously and economically provided by the Bitchin’ Kitchen with a wide range of tasty vegetarian and vegan slop. A number of unscheduled discussions were self-organised by participants at the gathering. This included report backs from two other local community based struggles in the west of Ireland; a campaign in Bantry against a pylons development, and a campaign in Limerick being undertaken by a community whose water supply is being switched from a spring well to a polluted river; as well as feed back from Residents against Racism, discussion, and a film showing, about the recent hunger strike by Afghan asylum seekers in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin. Revolt Video, who documented the event and stayed for the week afterward to interview campers and local Shell to Sea activists, provided the gatherings’ cinema. They hope to premier this film about the struggle against Shell in a community hall near Rossport in July. The gathering marked the first anniversary of the first Solidarity Gathering in Rossport, an event that launched Rossport Solidarity Camp and Shell to Sea as a national and international campaign group. However this June’s event was more part of a process of continuing to mobilise resistance to Shell and the state that supports this insanity than just a celebration and party. The gathering drew a lot of people to the area who had not been there before and you have to experience at first hand what is planned to see how bad it is. Valuable informal networking over the weekend, plus the influx of new faces, gives us a foundation to build a stronger block to the mis-development and the robbery of our natural resources. Shell to Sea: Indymedia Mayo: More photos from the weekend: Photos and audio interviews: Revolt Video: Water Campaign in Limerick: Bantry against Pylons: Tir na gCasta: Bolivia Solidarity Campaign: Global Women’s Strike: Afghan Hunger Strike: Residents Against Racism:
Text: Terry and Ruth, Photos: Niall. e-mail: Homepage:

Posted Date: 
19 June 2006 - 12:25pm