Latest news from the struggle against Shell in the West of Ireland, as the state prepares to strike.
The month of September was the month Shell had chosen to re-take their refinery construction site in Ballinaboy, Mayo, in the west of Ireland. They failed.
The refinery has been shut down since July 2005 by pickets involving the local community and activists from Rossport Solidarity Camp.
The mobilisation of hundreds, principally residents, often from 4 a.m. or 5 a.m. in the morning, to stand in all kinds of weather in front of the gates of the site has so far held Shell at bay.
Often sub-contractor vehicles would been skulking some miles away, but not advance near to the blockade. To get some appreciation of the extent of community mobilisation consider that the area where the whole development is happening - the area of the refinery and production gas pipeline - has a total population of just over 2,000, adults and children.
Last Tuesday an attempt to enter the site by Shell, assisted by the state, was thwarted when people refused to back down in the face of threatened arrests.
Today - Monday October 2nd - there is a very large police presence in the nearest town to Shell’s development, they blocked off a small street to hold a private meeting with Shell and prevented photographers from entering.
The previous week Special Branch ’protest specialists’ from Dublin were on reconnaissance at the site.
Today’s Irish Times reads: “A large force of gardaí is being mobilised to force entry this week to the Corrib gas terminal site in Co Mayo which has been blockaded by protesters for more than a year."
One campaigner told us:
We expect the state to make a push in the next few days, probably tomorrow, Tuesday - as that way the story can be buried underneath parliamentary questions on a major political scandal.
If you had any plan to come to Rossport Solidarity Camp come now, if you cannot then hold solidarity actions where ever you are.
Dozens of community based environmental campaigns, usually on a small scale, are happening in Ireland all the time. The actions against Shell in Mayo are the trailblazer and victory here will have a radicalising effect elsewhere.
For more information see: http://www.struggle.ws/rsc http://www.indymedia.ie http://www.indymedia.ie/mayo http://www.shelltosea.com