Friday, 19 September 2008


Hunger Strike in Erris as Shell's Pipe Laying Ship Arrives.
On September 9th the world's largest pipe-laying vessel, The Solitaire,
arrived off the coast of Mayo, Ireland. Local fishermen are worried about
contamination of the waters they depend on, and many local people who are
concerned that the offshore section of the Shell scheme is being put in
place while no planning permission exists for the onshore section. The
ship is supported by a number of Shell support craft, the Irish Police
Water Unit and part of the Irish Navy. In recent weeks there have been 29
separate arrests in thee area around Glengad beach, where the pipe is due
to make landfall.

A local school principal has vowed to refuse food until the ship leaves
the area. She has parked her car in front of the Shell compound. The Irish
government, including Green Party Ministers of the Environment and Natural
Resources, have backed Shell's scheme. Last month the Garda released
figures showing that 11 million euro had been spent policing the project
since 2006, more than half the amount the force spent on fighting
organised crime. Activists on the ground in Mayo have asked for
assistance. Those not in a position to travel to Mayo can hold solidarity
protests at the Irish embassy or Shell petrol stations.

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