Rossport Solidarity Camp update November 2011

Greetings from sunny, beautiful Mayo!!!

Shell has started peat removal as we come into winter (which so far is looking better than summer, weather-wise). We are keeping up the protests here but people are needed. Come and visit the new warm and cosy winter camp, we’re hardly roughing it!

In this update:
1. Peat haulage and actions update
2. Stop Shell for a day
3. Day of Solidarity, Sat 10 December
4. Court update
5. Fionnuala the Tunnel Boring Machine
6. Funding, call-out for fundraisers
7. An Taisce settlement
8. Wishlist

1. Peat haulage and actions update

Shell has begun peat removal on the tunnelling compound in Aughoose. Over the next few months they hope to remove 175,000 tons of peat from the site and replace it with stone, cement and tarmac from nearby quarries. At peak haulage this will mean up to 475 truck movements a day. One way to stop progress on the compound and delay the project is to block the roads, which is a lot of what people have been doing.

Wed 16th Nov: When the first peat lorries were spotted, four people were arrested after climbing inside and underneath a peat lorry, blocking all other haulage for 3 hours. See photos:

Sat 19th Nov: Four people blocked 8 peat and quarry trucks for over an hour, during which workers went home for the day
Mon 21st Nov: Eight campaigners enter Barrett’s quarry to stop stone haulage but get chucked out by IRMS security
Tues 22nd Nov: Twenty people slow trucks down at the weekly Tuesday morning protest, then a concrete lock-on stops all haulage completely for the rest of the day.
See more details and photos:

2. Stop Shell for a day
In order to maintain a constant level of protest, we need a continuous stream of people visiting the area to join us, even if only for a few days. There are plenty of non-arrestable roles to fulfil on the protests, so you don’t have to get arrested to participate. However if you don’t mind getting arrested and you want to stop Shell, come up and spend a day with your arm in a lock-on, blocking Shell’s haulage route. It’s one way to completely shut down all haulage for several hours and delay the project.

Even if you aren’t sure about direct action but you want to join the protests, come up and see for yourself what it is all about. Support from people locally, nationally and internationally is one reason this campaign has been so effective, and the best way for you to show your support is to come up and visit. Any time is a good time, if you want to be part of the protests then Mon-Fri is best, and some Saturdays. There is a weekly protest with local residents and supporters every Tuesday at 8am outside Gate 1 of Bellanaboy refinery.

Come join us!!!

3. Day of Solidarity, 10th December

There will be a day of Solidarity on Saturday, 10th December. Come visit Mayo and show solidarity with the community opposing the Corrib Gas Project.

4. Court update

Belmullet district court has set aside at least week in February for Shell to Sea cases. This means everyone who has been arrested and charged from the summer and autumn will have their cases heard the week of February 20th. Some people have gotten their cases dealt with already, several being let off without fines or convictions. Currently seven people are up for mention on the 14th Dec and one person will be up 11th January.

5. Fionnuala the Tunnel Boring Machine

The Tunnel Boring Machine has been built, and to the disgust of many people of Erris, Shell have named the TBM ‘Fionnuala’ after one of the children of Lir. According to the legend of the Children of Lir, Fionuala and her two brothers spent 300 years banished on the waters of Sruwaddacon Bay. Shell hopes to put their raw gas pipeline in a tunnel under these very same waters. There are so many levels on which this insulting and grotesque appropriation of local culture feels wrong to people who live here.
Read Shell’s update here:

Shell: “It is customary in mining and tunnelling to give TBMs a female name and, in the case of the Corrib TBM, Fionnuala has been chosen, in honour of the legend of the Children of Lir, which has a strong local resonance.”

6. Funding, Call-out for fundraisers

As always we are looking for donations and help fundraising! In addition to the continuous costs of running the camp, travel costs for people coming back for court will add up over the next few months. If you can’t make it up to Mayo, show your support by organising a gig or fundraiser in your local community!
Donations can be made to:
ACCOUNT: The Rossport Solidarity Camp
BANK: Bank of Ireland, Belmullet, Co Mayo.
SORT CODE: 905299
IBAN No:IE83 BOFI 9052 9924 3067 33

7. An Taisce settlement

An Taisce’s settlement of legal challanges to the consents for the Corrib Gas Project is just one more let-down for the people of Erris. An Taisce settled with the State, trading the safety of the people of Erris for a seat on a government environmental law ‘implementation group’  (for which there are no terms of reference) and payment of legal expenses. Many local people are devastated over the result. Many see it as par for the course considering the number of politicians, NGOs and government bodies who have abandoned Erris over the past 11 years.

Read a report on a meeting between An Taisce and the local community following the settlement:

8. Wishlist
mobile phones
functional laptops
bikes & tools
wheelie bins
building timber
lock-ons! help us out by making a lock-on! As long as you have a place to store it we’ll worry about transport later. The longer the cement has to set the stronger it will be, so the more people we have making lock-ons around the country the better! For tips on lock-on making techniques, contact the camp.
Anyone who happens to be driving a van from UK to Ireland anytime over the winter please contact the camp as we have a secondhand marquee that needs a lift :)


That’s all for now, to get in touch with the camp ring 085 114 1170. The winter camp is currently located in a field next to Aughoose church, 10 minute walk from the summer field (towards Pullathomas). Please visit anytime.

And unfortunately we have some sad news. Anyone who has visited the camp will know Matilda the dog, who has passed away. We loved her and will miss her!

All the best from everyone at the camp.