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Shell Spin Conference Disrupted


Attempts by Shell Oil to put a friendly face on its operations in County Mayo were scuppered by éirígí activists on Wednesday [June 17] when a Dublin press conference was disrupted.

The journalists and politicians who attended the conference were met by activists demanding the nationalisation of the Corrib gas field and an end to Shell’s brutal assaults on the Erris community.

éirígí members challenge Shell's PR team

Shell’s hastily convened spin operation was called in the wake of the hijacking and sinking of a Mayo fisherman’s boat by a number of unidentified masked men. The hurried nature of the event suggested that their PR machine was attempting to upstage a press conference to be held the following day by the fisherman in question, Pat O’Donnell, during which he was due to give further details of the attack.

O’Donnell has been prominent in the last number of years in opposing Shell’s project in Erris and has rejected any overtures at coming to an accommodation with the company. The sinking of his boat follows the recent assault on fellow local and anti-Shell activist Willie Corduff, also by a group of masked men.

Speaking at the event, éirígí spokesperson Daithí Mac An Mhaistír said: “Shell’s press conference was merely an attempt to spin its way out of culpability in the recent attacks against the people of north-west Mayo and justify the attempted exploitation of the natural resources in Corrib.

“These attacks, including the hijacking and sinking of Pat O’Donnell’s boat, constitute an attack on the rights of Irish citizens.

“The attacks are, of course, typical of Shell’s internationally renowned modus operandi of bullying, intimidation and human rights abuses. A casual glance at Shell’s recent history provides plenty of evidence. Only last week, Shell was forced to pay $15 million compensation to the Ogoni people of Nigeria for their collusion with the military regime in human rights abuses.

Liz McManus is confronted about Shell“The Ogoni community’s success in demonstrating Shell’s complicity in torture and murder carried out by a military junta should provide a wake up call to those in Ireland who have chosen to ignore the company’s destructive and increasingly sinister activities in Mayo.

“At the heart of Shell’s behaviour lies their greed. The Corrib gas field contains billions of euro worth of natural gas. In Shell’s estimation, intimidation, assault and hijackings are a legitimate means of accessing these resources.

“The Dublin government has an obligation to protect the economic interests of the Irish people by nationalising the Corrib gas field, ensuring the retention of billions of euro in the public coffers. They also have a duty to protect Irish citizens against attack by hired thugs.

“After all, the resources that lie buried in Corrib belong to the people of Ireland, not a private company.”


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