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Community Day at Bellanaboy

category mayo | environment | news report author Sunday December 16, 2007 23:53author by JM & VMcG Report this post to the editors

A special prayer and carol service was held today at Bellanaboy, County Mayo, marking the end of another year of community struggle against Shell's proposed raw gas pipeline and inland refinery.

Cars and people gather
Cars and people gather

A good humoured gathering of more than 150 local people braved the bitterly cold east wind to take part in the occasion, which was presided over by local priests Fr. Michael Nallen PP and Fr. Sean Noone.

A banner declaring "Gan Cead an Phobail" (No Community Consent) was draped over the main gates while people sang Christmas Carols to welcome in the festive season.

Also present was Lelia Doolin, a high profile campaigner and member of the Burren Action Group, who travelled from Galway especially for the day. Ms Doolin spoke of the similarities between the Clare and Mayo campaigns, and how the determination of ordinary people can bring about real change.

Related Link: http://www.shelltosea.com/

Something to ponder
Something to ponder

No Community Consent
No Community Consent

Christmas prayers
Christmas prayers

author by JM & VMcGpublication date Sun Dec 16, 2007 23:59Report this post to the editors

four more

Standing with the community
Standing with the community

Shell To Sea - The Next Generation
Shell To Sea - The Next Generation

Keeping warm in the huddle
Keeping warm in the huddle

Group photo
Group photo

author by Damienpublication date Mon Dec 17, 2007 01:31Report this post to the editors

The way I see it one of the biggest problems Shell To Sea have is a lack of credibility. Some people just don't accept their arguments as fact, which is a shame because they present some valid points.

However Shell to sea are prone to exaggeration. And this exaggeration can lead to loss of public confidence in the analysis they present.

This story is a typical example. The article claims that "more than 150 local people" attended, however even a cursory glance at the group picture would indicate that the crowd was signifigantly smaller. But I wasn't sure. So I counted the number of people in the picture. I count 81 people present. I've even attached a picture showing who I counted. I'd be interested to hear where the other 70 people are hiding in that picture.

I'd guess its quite likely that I missed 10 or 15 people, or they were out of sight, but either way, there simply isn't 150 people present.

Group Photo
Group Photo

author by Cedpublication date Mon Dec 17, 2007 10:26Report this post to the editors

not everybody wishes to have their photo taken, to be published on the internet or elsewhere.
Maybe, just maybe there were people 'off camera'.
Did you count the person holding the camera -no? well go back and do it again.

author by Damienpublication date Mon Dec 17, 2007 11:01Report this post to the editors

Hmmm I think its alot more likely that Shell to Sea lied about the number of people present than 70 people refused to get into the photograph.

Anyone else have any guesses about where the other half of the protest got to ?

author by MacEpublication date Mon Dec 17, 2007 11:01Report this post to the editors

People come and go. Some arrive late, some leave early. Some (a lot) don't like leaving the warm trailer and their tea. To corral every single person involved for a group photo just to prove the true numbers present would be a tad sad. But you could always ask, Damien.

Related Link: http://www.mayogasinfo.com/
author by Damienpublication date Mon Dec 17, 2007 11:29Report this post to the editors

So now you are claiming that almost half of the protestors were in a trailer and that they don't like being photographed?

What was the point of having a private protest in a trailer??

author by pjpublication date Mon Dec 17, 2007 12:08Report this post to the editors

No Damien- he said they were having their tea in the trailer. The private protest was held on the public road. Maybe you should stick to your graphic arts. ( Are you by chance related to CL?)

author by MacEpublication date Mon Dec 17, 2007 13:59Report this post to the editors

I don't think people are going to judge the rights and wrongs of the Corrib controversy based on whether or not Vincent or John made an accurate estimate of the number of people present at a prayer service. Would you like people to sign a guestbook in future? What I've learned from you is that at least 70 people attended the service, were present at the exact time the photo was taken, didn't mind having their photo taken and were prepared to wait until it was taken. What I've learned from the article is that the total number of people present for the service at one time or another and who may or may not have been bothered about having their picture taken was estimated at 150. If I'd been asked to believe 1500, I would have to check was I reading an RPS "Community Update". 150 I can believe. Not everyone likes standing around in the cold for pictures. Damien, there are far more important issues surrounding this campaign you could be worrying about.

Related Link: http://www.publicinquiry.ie/pdf/Fiosru_2_HI_RES_Final.pdf
author by count draculapublication date Mon Dec 17, 2007 16:24Report this post to the editors

This discussion is completely stupid and tiresomely irrelevant.

Obviously not everyone is going to hang around for the photo. The last time I was in Rossport (for a protest) I was there with a number of friends and a similar picture was taken, and to my knowledge not one of us appears in it. Without any prior agreement we all decided for one reason or another to opt out of the photo opportunity. BUT WE WERE THERE.

Spending time counting the people in the picture is nutty. The project has no consent, either from the local community or the wider public.

People know that the Irish state won't benefit from the gas, and the environment will suffer both locally in Mayo, and more widely by the emissions of CO2 from the refinery.

People also know that Shell (one of the richest companies in the world) is trying to do this project on the cheap, and prepared to put people on jail to do so.

Arguing about the amount of people in a photograph is stupid and has no bearing on this project.

author by Maura Harrington - S2S; Davitt Leaguepublication date Mon Dec 17, 2007 17:02Report this post to the editors

While I agree with Count Dracula's post that it is quite nutty behaviour there is a serious undertone as far as $hell is concerned.

For perhaps the first time in their 100-year history of exploitation RD$ is faced with the consequences of putting the boot in before they had fully secured their proposed project.

In Erris in 2005 $hell's speed and greed proved their undoing and, two and a half years on they are still, literally and metaphorically, bogged.

Mr. Andrew Pyle, then and now MD $hell E&P Ireland, was at pains to spin that $hell would not proceed with the proposed Corrib Project without the consent of the local community. As a usual throw-away comment it was standard $hell stuff - what makes it different in the Erris context is that it has been comprehensively demonstrated that $hell's attempt to manufacture the illusion of said 'local consent' has fallen flat on its corporate face.

The petition rejecting the project as proposed (an inland 'beach-head' refinery served by a dangerously high-pressure raw gas pipeline in the catchment of the regional water supply) has been signed by over 80% of the proposed receiving community. This level of disquiet and anxiety, together with the usual societal impacts of Big Oil behaviour, is attested to by letter to Eamon Ryan signed by the three serving priests in the Parish of Kilcommon.

All of the above means that $hell cannot spin their usual guff and expect to get away with it - one reason why they are reduced to nuttier behaviour by the day.

author by Just the factspublication date Mon Dec 17, 2007 19:01Report this post to the editors

Please People, lets not lose the run of ourselves, It doesn't matter if it was 150 or 1500,or 15,000 or even I.5 Million it wont make one bit of a difference.
Lets put this issue in context, On February 15, 2003 anti-war protest was a coordinated day of protests across the world against the imminent invasion of Iraq,in approximately 800 cities around the world.
The protest in Rome involved around 3 million people, 750,000 people protested in London, approx 100,000 protested in Dublin.
Now ask yourself, what difference did those protests make to the war effort in Iraq, or the use of Shannon by the us military?
Absolutely none, and the same is true of the Shell-to-sea campaign, it wont stop this refinery!

author by LPpublication date Mon Dec 17, 2007 19:25Report this post to the editors

Maybe you're right. But it's better that peaceful methods are tried first. If the government continues to brutalise peaceful protesters, ignore its duty of care and collude with Shell's blatantly false "national interest" propaganda, then they will only have themselves to blame if the doves take a back seat and a backlash begins.

Related Link: http://www.socialwar.net/
author by dreamerpublication date Mon Dec 17, 2007 20:39Report this post to the editors

"if the doves take a back seat and a backlash begins"
Oh I bet the goverment are scared at that thought!
For goodness sake get real, there isnt a snowballs chance in hell of getting this refinery halted,or the terms altered. NIMBY is a fact of life.
look at the Poolbeg incinerator.!

author by Eamonn O'coilea'in - Republic OF Irelandpublication date Tue Dec 18, 2007 02:26Report this post to the editors

Once apon a time, I asked a verry educated man ,if he believed in miracles? And he stated the he most certainly did!. The reason I bring this up is there is no way; shell is going to build a deadly chemical gas plant next to the drinking water. Who in their right mind would want this to happen. Who would want to drink the water?
Would it be a miracle if shell went ahead and built and destroyed the area? I think not. It will be the people of Ireland and the local area who will stop this nightmare once and for all. The spirit is there, it was there on Sunday, thats for sure. People were on both sides of the entrance and it look to me that it was about even on both sides. It was a large group of people who care about their familys future and well being. It seems that more and more people care and are watching what is going on in Bellinaboy. Actual lots of people from around the world; are paying close attention,as to what is going on and what laws are beening broken to let this company shell; just move in and take over. We live in the threat of shell's law and we all know what that means. We will always reject this most seriously dangerous project like so many officals before, (for goodness sake). OH ; the miracle is that no one was killed so far. MERRY CRISTMAS TO ALL & SHELL TO SEA

author by LPpublication date Tue Dec 18, 2007 12:14Report this post to the editors

All governments fear negative publicity, Dreamer. I salute the forbearance of Shell to Sea protesters, but I don't expect that they will turn the other cheek indefinitely. Not even Jesus asked that.

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporatism
author by lulupublication date Tue Dec 18, 2007 14:18Report this post to the editors

I keep reading the same old line : 'Cop on to y'selves, get real, the B'boy refinery is inevitable, the world won't change' - but the fact is, the world can ONLY change through the actions of conscientious citizens, & we won't allow a discredited 'government' to let $Hell poison & ruin Erris. We owe it to future generations, & to martyrs such as Ken Saro-Wiwa, to oppose all corporate takeovers of people's lands. Hats off to Shell to Sea & their supporters for their sustained resistance - Merry Christmas/Chanukah/Yule/Solstice!

author by Damienpublication date Tue Dec 18, 2007 19:08Report this post to the editors

"the world can ONLY change through the actions of conscientious citizens"

Two Points

- Just because the world can be changed doesnt mean you will be able to do it.
- The world is usually changed by those who could be called less than conscientious citizens, and frequently in negative ways

This "we will succeed" thing from S2S is reminiscent of the Glen of the Downs and Tara struggles and look at the outcomes there.

At the end of the day S2S are a fringe group in Irish politics - untill they start getting 5 or 10 people elected as representatives in Dail Eireann these protests are all a waste of enrgy. They simply have no power. Of course the most interesting question is why do they not have numerous representatives in the Dail.

I guess the only possible answers to that are either they are very poorly organised, or the general public do not support their policies.

author by Ravenpublication date Tue Dec 18, 2007 23:47Report this post to the editors

The solution you put forward ie. numerous representatives in the Dail is indeed pointless because we know who they will represent ... business and profit for multinationals and property developers over the welfare and wishes of the people.

I propose another answer is that the campaign is not poorly organised but the general public are not informed of the real situation in Tara or Rossport the state media facilitate this ignorance.
The activists involved are criminalised to alienate a maybe sympathetic public.
Also the same public are too busy paying inflated prises for rent or property thanks to our representatives in Dail Eireanne to be more actively involved in supporting S2S and others.

The tenacity displayed by individuals who consistently resist on a daily basis must be applauded .Some others who post obviously have too much time on their hands, but Happy Xmas too all.

author by local parishioner!publication date Tue Dec 18, 2007 23:53Report this post to the editors

I just want too say, how amazing it is too see the priests of the parish can stand out in the cold at a gate saying prayers, yet we can't get a mass said for our dead.. It's high time the priest copped on and done the job they are getting paid too do,!!!!!!

author by W. Finnerty.publication date Wed Dec 19, 2007 09:43Report this post to the editors

What the Bellanaboy Community very badly needs (in my view), and what I need myself, is a small group of good quality lawyers who will fight for our legal rights under human rights law.

Unfortunately, at the present time it appears to be impossible to find any lawyers in the Republic of Ireland who are willing to use human rights law to defend the legal rights of individuals (such as myself for example), and small communities (such as Bellanaboy).

This problem, regarding the failure of the Republic of Ireland's legal profession to recognise the extremely important role of human rights law in everyday life, is what (in my view) lays at the root of many - almost all possibly? - of our environmental problems.

Related link: http://www.europeancourtofhumanrightswilliamfinnerty.com/Media/17December2007/Email.htm



(As the above article appeared on Wednesday, December 19th 2007, at 0943)

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