Dublin: Mountjoy prison S2S picket


Dublin Shell to Sea will be picketing Mountjoy prison from 3pm, Saturday 23rd May in solidarity with imprisoned Erris campaigner Maura Harrington. Come along and join us at the prison.

-- Campaigners condemn hypocrisy of gardai and courts --

Retired school principal Maura Harrington is back in prison over her part in the campaign against Shell's inland refinery and high-pressure raw gas pipeline in north Mayo. Harrington has been jailed for 14 days for refusing to pay 3,000 euro in fines arising from a court hearing in March. On that occasion she was jailed for 30 days for allegedly slapping a garda, a charge which she denied.

Harrington was arrested at 5.15pm on Monday (18th May) as she left the court in Belmullet, Co Mayo. The original conviction related to an incident at Pollathomas pier in June 2007, when Shell contractors forced their way onto private land with the help of Gardai. A solidarity blockade took place at Mountjoy prison last night, where members of Dublin Shell to Sea blocked the vehicle bringing Mrs. Harrington there.

Dublin Shell to Sea has condemned the "hypocrisy" of prosecuting local campaigners while allowing Shell to continue doing work for which it has no planning permission. Spokesperson Caoimhe Kerins said: "No planning permission has been granted for the pipeline landfall compound at Glengad beach. The Planning and Development Regulations, 2001, clearly state that this work is not exempt from permission. [See note below.]

"This approach of one law for community, another law for the multinationals may be based on an assumption that this project is somehow in the national interest. In fact, Corrib will represent a net loss to the exchequer of many billions of euro.
"Thanks to corrupt politicians such as Ray Burke, Irish gas is being given away to multinationals, with no benefit to the state, and all the authorities can do is prosecute, harass and intimidate local opposition. Now we read that the Irish Navy is going to be brought in this summer, further adding to the millions of euro the Government is spending to facilitate this gift to Shell, Statoil and Marathon. "

For more than eight years, the local community has been calling for Corrib Gas to be processed at sea, as is standard practice around the world. Shell has insisted on proceeding with its experimental inland refinery and high-pressure pipeline, for which there is no precedent. The pipeline would carry raw, unodorised gas at extremely high pressure close to houses and just 1.4 metres under roads and farmland.

Meanwhile, today saw the opening of the oral hearing into the onshore pipeline route, linking the landfall at Glengad to the inland refinery at Bellanaboy.

Plans by Shell to resume attempts to lay the offshore pipeline with the ship Solitaire in the coming weeks will be severely hampered by local fishing trawlers. The Erris Inshore Fishermen’s Association says that the company has not lived up to its promise in relation to discharges from an outfall pipe, which could harm sensitive marine areas. An agreement secured by Shell last year had involved compensation for lost fishing time during pipelaying, but hinged on commitments to deal with the outfall pipe. This means local fishermen will continue to fish in the bay, as is their right.

[1] Under Planning and Development Regulations 2001, Schedule 2 Part 1 of Exempted Development, Class 25 (c) it states:
"In accordance with any requirements of the Minister for Public Enterprise or the Marine and Natural Resources, as the case may be under section 40 of the Gas Act, 1976, of development consisting of the construction of an underground pipeline for the transmission of gas (but not the construction or erection of any apparatus, equipment or other thing ancillary to such a pipeline save cathodic protection equipment and marker posts)."