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Break the siege of Rossport


A number of éirígí activists travelled to Erris, Co Mayo today to support the Shell to Sea protests. While the major protest of the day was at the site of the proposed refinery in Bellanaboy there were two additional, smaller protests outside of the two quarries supplying stone to the Bellanaboy site. The éirígí activists joined one of these protests at Lennon’s Quarry in Glencastle. Beginning at about 6.30am the protest continued for about four and a half hours.

During this time there were a number of sit-down protests as activists attempted to prevent lorries from the quarry making their way to Bellanaboy. The Garda reaction to this peaceful protest was both violent and indiscriminate with protesters repeatedly kicked, punched and manhandled by the Gardaí as they cleared the road. By lunchtime one protester was in hospital with a suspected broken nose and countless others were nursing bruises, cuts and muscle strains.

Speaking at the protest éirígí Chairperson Brian Leeson slammed the Garda tactics saying that “the sit-down protest is a long established, legitimate form of non-violent direct action, used by political activists the world over. It is, by its very nature, peaceful, placing the protesters in an entirely exposed position that represents no threat to the Gardaí. Despite this the Gardaí have responded with brute force by quite literally kicking the people off the road.”

Encouraging more people to become involved in the Shell to Sea campaign he continued “for those who believe in a more equitable and just Ireland there is no battle of greater importance, at this time, than the issue of the Corrib Gas and the manner in which it is proposed to exploit it. Not only have the Dublin government effectively given away the gas, it is now clear that they are also willing to use the forces of the state to ensure that untested and unsafe technology will be used to process it.

They, and their friends in the oil companies, hope that they can break the Shell to Sea campaign by besieging a small isolated community on the west coast of Ireland. They fear the development of a major nationwide campaign focused on the entire issue of Irelands’ natural resources and on how and to whose benefit they are exploited. It is for people in Dublin, Belfast, Cork and elsewhere to ensure that such a campaign develops. The people in Rossport and the surrounding area are already doing their part, challenging the government and Shell on a daily basis; it’s now up to the rest of us to do the same and ensure that the siege of Rossport is broken”.

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