Exporting oil has made Norway one of the wealthiest countries in the world.
Arguably, wind is Ireland’s oil. Our geographic location means we have highly lucrative consistent wind that will keep turbines turning and generating a consistent energy supply.
But what price will we have to pay to exploit this resource and what guarantees are there that we can make the most of the resource like the Norwegians.
The early signs are ominous and recent history tells us that Governments here tend to sell the family silver below cost and at a heavy price to communities.
Offaly and the other midland counties have, the experts tell us, the capacity to generate power. But at what cost?
While the county could benefit from wind power, littering Laois with hundreds of giant turbines is already angering communities. Farmers, we are told, will benefit, but are they being bought off cheaply.
Cash-strapped County Councils must act in the best interest of the community but also help to develop a resource. It is a difficult balancing act. It must also avoid the attraction of backing turbines to raise finance.
Exporting the energy generated to Britain is likely to irk some but it is the economics of this plan that we should be concerned about. Are we selling off our power on the cheap so that another country grows economically?
Should we not be harnessing wind energy to develop our own economy? Surely Irish business would flourish if it could avail of cheaper home-grown electricity.
The story of the Corrib Gas fields off Mayo does not reflect well on Government policy. There was no policy then so the gas was sold off quickly and cheaply. Hopefully wind energy is not a repeat performance.
Irelandʼs Natural Resources
NOT FOR SALE Conference Sun 10 March, 11.30 – 6pm, Gresham Hotel, Dublin
Leinster House, Kildare St, Dublin 2. Tel: 01 6183366
Speakers Include: Dr Helge Ryggvik (Norwegian Economic Historian), Catherine Murphy TD, Jessica Ernst (Canadian Scientist Living Fracked), Frank Connolly (Author of SIPTU produced Optimising Ireland’s Natural Resources), Stein Bredal (Norwegian former Oil Worker), Andrew St Leger (Woodlands League), Cllr Brid Smith (People Before Profit),Padraing Campbell (Former Oil Rig Worker), Paul Murphy MEP (Socialist Party), Maura Harrington (Shell to Sea), Pat “The Chief” O Donnell (Fisherman Porturlin Co Mayo)
View Conference Timetable here: PBP Nat Recources Timetable
Full Leaflet here: PBP Nat Resources Conference
The Irish government is giving away our natural resources. Oil and Gas exploration licences have been handed out to big multi nationals under terms that mean the Irish people do not gain jobs, a revenue stream or security of supply. Practices with serious environmental consequences, such as fracking, are not ruled out under law. The harvesting rights to our forests are about to be sold to the highest bidder. This threatens access rights of the Irish people to walk in our forests and endangers the sustainability of our woodlands as they will be exploited for quick sale of timber. Our water is about to be privatised. The rst move has been to transfer the administration of the water services to a new semi state Irish Water and next year water charges will be introduced. When water was privatised in the north of England, the area experienced its first ever water shortages!
Fishing in Ireland has been destroyed by huge multi-national trawlers, aided and abetted by EU quota regulations, plundering our waters. What we need is a sustainable sheries policy that protects the livelihoods of small shermen and allows local shing industry to ourish creating jobs and protecting a valuable natural resource.
The mismanagement and privatisation of our natural resources has a detrimental impact on the environment, jobs and our economy. Decisions are regularly made with regards to our natural resources without any public consultations, which are required under EU law. There is no serious plan for a programme of major public investment to develop renewable energies.
Ireland is in an unprecedented economic crisis. Our natural resources have enormous potential for jobs and economic growth as would a national project to develop renewable energies.
We must act now to change the policy of facilitating multi nationals in their pursuit of prots which is undermining our economy and the environment.
Come along to our conference on Sun 10 March 11.30 – 18.00 in The Gresham Hotel, O Connell Street, Dublin 1
Booking Tel: 01 618 3366 Email: NaturalResourcesConference@gmail.com
Belmullet District Court Report – Shell and Mayo County Council stand co-accused of obstructing the public highway. – Indymedia Ireland
in Belmullet district court Shell and Mayo County Council stood co-accused in a case for blocking the road during the disastrous attempt to deliver the Tunnel Boring Machine to Shell’s tunnelling site at Aughoose in August this year. The co-accused settled out of court with the plaintiff and had the case struck out before the details were made public.
It is rumoured however that the case was taken by a fisherman who was suing for obstruction and loss of earnings, and that the plaintiff settled out of court for one thousand Euro. During the TBM debacle in August the main Ballina North coast road was closed while Shell’s jack-knifed lorry carrying the TBM blocked the road for days.
This is dangerous territory for Shell and the County Council as literally thousands of road users were obstructed at the time in the same way. – Watch this space….
Shell to Sea cases
There were four Shell to Sea cases up for mention.
It was the first appearance for a campaigner arrested on Monday morning during an action blocking access to Shell’s tunnelling compound. An order for the Garda book of evidence was made and the case was put back to the 9th of January.
The next case was for obstructing machinery laying a water pipe to the tunnelling compound. This was also put back to the 9th of January.
The third case was for a lock-on action that blocked the TBM for a number of hours in August while in transit to Mayo from Dublin port. In his absence the defendant – who had already plead guilty – was given the probation act and so avoided conviction.
In the last case Shell to Sea spokesperson Maura Harrington was due to set dates for hearings to defend cases arising from the TBM debacle. She wasn’t in court though and a bench warrant was issued for her arrest. Sgt. Butler was visibly disappointed when she arrived in just before the court was finished for the day and the warrant was vacated.
Related Link: http://www.rossportsolidaritycamp.org
Richard Boyd Barrett challenged Enda Kenny in the Dáil on the continuing oil and gas giveaway using figures from Shell to Sea’s “Liquid Assets” which is available here
The special rapporteur met with a delegation of ten people on Wednesday which included seven members of Shell to Sea.
She said she was concerned about “the situation and challenges faced by defenders and activists defending the right to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment, particularly those peacefully protesting against the Corrib Gas project”.
“There is tangible frustration amongst local residents who are standing up for their rights and feel powerless, isolated and have lost trust in public institutions”, she said.
In a statement today Shell to Sea said it raised many issues of concern at the meeting;
…including violence by the Gardaí, behaviour of the private security, the democratic deficit in the planning process, surveillance and harassment, selectivity in the application of the law, the undermining and stigmatisation of campaigners by the judiciary, the politicisation of the judicial process and the ineffectiveness of designated oversight bodies in particular the Garda Ombudsman.
Sekaggya said she received “credible reports indicating the existence of a pattern of criminalization of what has mostly been a peaceful protest movement, including acts of non-compliance and passive resistance”.
Today Shell to Sea spokesperson Terence Conway said communities in Ireland have no protection when they find themselves in the path of experimental oil and gas projects.
“We have been abused and ignored by most institutions of the state and left to defend our rights at huge personal risk,” he said.
“We hope that this report by an independent international expert will make it more difficult for the Irish State to hide it’s domestic record on human rights.”
Printed below is a self-explanatory email I sent on 11 November 2012 to Mr Michiel Brandjes, Company Secretary & General Counsel Corporate, Royal Dutch Shell Plc.
I sent him further information earlier today including a related email sent to RDS Plc Chief Executive Mr Peter Voser.
I also made reference to the copy of a letter from a solicitor that has been supplied to me.
The solicitor acts for clients in County Mayo concerned by any implication that they have been involved in any corrupt activity allegedly sponsored by Shell.
MY EMAIL TO MR MICHIEL BRANDJES: 11 NOVEMBER 2012
From: John Donovan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: SHELL ALCOHOL FOR CORRIB POLICEMEN?
Date: 11 November 2012 15:01:19 GMT
Dear Mr Brandjes
I have forwarded to you separately an email I received today, dated 9 November 2012, purportedly sent to Mr Mike Crothers, the Chief Executive of Shell EP Ireland and copied to your colleague Mr Peter Voser, CEO of Royal Dutch Shell Plc and to the Irish Police, the Garda.
The email was sent by OSSL, an Irish supplier to the Corrib Gas Project. The company has previously accused Shell of instructing them to make corrupt payments/gifts to third parties on behalf of Shell.
They claim that to achieve this objective, invoices were falsified on the express instruction of Shell EP Ireland.
OSSL further allege that threats of dire consequences have been made against them by Shell. The company notified you of this by email on 11 October 2012.
The latest allegation is that the local Irish Police involved in the Corrib Gas Project were supplied with alcohol by Shell EP Ireland. It says that there is proof of this in an invoice supplied to Shell.
I can understand why there has been a delay in calling in the police because the local population seems to have little faith in the impartiality of the Garda. Many believe, rightly or wrongly, that the local police are in the pockets of Shell.
This perhaps explains why Shell whistle blowers on the Corrib project – the so called Celtic Tiger Five – did not step forward to give evidence to the Garda after alleging they had received death threats from Shell. As you may recall, we published a considerable number of Shell internal emails leaked to us containing confidential information highly embarrassing to Shell.
If any of the claimed emails are fake, then we will not publish anything further received from OSSL. I do, however ,believe they are genuine.
Please let me know by 4pm Monday 12 November. We will also publish unedited any related comment Shell wishes to make.
No problem if you need more time to investigate and respond.
Just let me know by 4pm that you will be looking into the matter before replying.
Although Mr Brandjes replied to a subsequent email from me on another matter, he has not taken up my invitation as set out above, neither has he taken issue with the authenticity of the relevant emails.
The following is the content of an email sent by OSSL on 11 November 2012 to the solicitor referred to above.
EMAIL FROM OSSL TO A SOLICITOR: SENT 11 NOVEMBER 2012
Thank you for your letter
It appears to us that you have misread the situation .
OSSL was instructed by SHELL to pay for goods and services supplied or carried out by third party companies locally in Erris .
We informed your clients and others in the Bellanaboy area the Rossport area and Glengad that in an accounting instruction from Shell we were told to transfer the invoices in a disguised manner to a company called Roadbridge stating that Shell management were getting very worried that they would be seen to be favouring some landowners over others which we have been informed by Shell would contradict all other agreements with landowners who were not in receipt of “special favours “.
Your clients and fifteen others fall into the special favours category ,OSSL simply informed them that SHELL had not reimbursed OSSL in full for the money which it had paid out to third parties on your clients and Shells joint venture.
This money has not been fully reimbursed.
When we entered a long campaign of action to get our money back we were asked by Shell in Holland to travel to London to meet with Frances van Dam of their business and ethics department BID we were also asked to remain silent about the matter.
Some time later we were informed by van Dam that in fact none of what we had disclosed to her was factual , and that no Special Favours or home improvements or cash payments had ever been carried out or supplied to your clients and others stating that “any such works or favours would be corrupt and illegal and would jeopardise the whole project ”
Not even your clients would claim that this never happened , would they?
Apart from the missing money still outstanding we have been informed by Michael Crothers that we were dismissed from the project because of our compliance with your clients requests to Shell for work to be carried out and goods supplied which they subsequently wanted to distance themselves from.
In case you or your clients don’t understand what we are saying be clear that three decent people lost their lively hood over this matter .
Crothers held his head in shame when the facts were laid out to him and he is clear about what went on.
Shell does have a track record of involvement in corruption scandals – see examples at the foot of this article – but that obviously does not mean it is automatically guilty of the allegations on this occasion.
I have no idea why Shell has decided against commenting.
SHELL INVOLVEMENT IN PAST CORRUPTION SCANDALS
Executive Intelligence Review: Scandal of the Century Rocks British Crown and the City: June 22, 2007
Comment in House of Commons by Vince Camble MP, former Chief Economist of Shell (Debate on the Al-Yamamah BAE Fraud/Corruption controversy and associated money laundering) 7 Feb 2007
Shell in U.S. Gov. Sex, Drugs and Corruption Scandal: 24 January 2009
Shell to pay $48m Nigerian bribe fine: Daily Telegraph 4 November 2010
These companies, including Shell, admitted they “approved of or condoned the payment of bribes on their behalf in Nigeria and falsely recorded the bribe payments made on their behalf as legitimate business expenses in their corporate books, records and accounts”.
Posted Date: 13 November 2012
Now for a serious point, no irony, no satire:- what’s been allowed to happen in Erris for the last ten years regarding the Shell Corrib gas project has significantly devalued the standard of democracy in Ireland. It is a symptom of a wider malaise, for which we’re paying by selling off our independence, our very status as a democratic state – lack of proper participatory democratic process.
We’ve been lead to this point by a gang of unscrupulous dons, none of whom have been made to even acknowledge their crimes.
Crime has become accepted as the norm in Erris, upheld by the agents of state we are brought up to believe protect and support democratic institutions.
There is a painting by Jack B. Yeats in the Hugh Lane gallery called The Maggie Man. The Maggie Man invites fair-goers to pay to throw stones at a wooden roughcut figure called a maggie – gléas magaidh – to encourage it to fend off evil. Those we have allowed to become our leaders have made a maggie of our democracy. They have reduced us to abusing it, diminishing it piecemeal, paying to do so, with blind faith in its automatic powers, while thinking we are engaged in normal democratic activity.
This is what drove me to write Ailliliú Fionnuala. – Donal O’Kelly
via Shell to Sea.
via Shell to Sea.
Oct 26th, 2012 by John Donovan.
I saw that you posted up the “Mayo Today” article entitled “Corrib safety clock hits three million hours mark”.
In the article Shell claim:
“The record was reached on October 4 and the workscope covered included all onshore pipeline and terminal activities, plus all offshore work managed out of Erris. This represented an incredible 833 days without a safety incident leading to a staff member or contractor having to take time off work due to injury – stretching back to June 24, 2010.”
This is a lie. I myself witnessed a Shell security guard being carried on a stretcher on a Shell site in January 2012.
I’ve also been contacted by an employee who told of two injuries on site that he knew of;
A female employee had her leg trapped by a steel gate at the Aughoose site in December 2011. This injured employee was off work for 4 or 5 months as a result of the incident.
A security guard injured his knee on the site around January this year.� He returned to work a few days later.
At the time of the first incident the employee said that they were handed jackets to wear with the 2,000,000+ hours worked without injuries even though their colleague was off duty at the time.
There have been a number of other rumored injuries on the Aughoose site in the last few months but nothing confirmed on these yet.
In the quiet and tranquil countryside of Mayo, in the far west of Ireland lies one of the most controversial gas projects. Protestors reside in the solidarity camp at Aughoose, one of the two locations which is part of the Corrib Gas Project. The project is based along the Sruwadaccon Estuary which is designated a Special Area of Conservation. The Corrib Gas Field is located about 50 miles off Erris Head in Count Mayo,known as the Slyne Trough. An exploration license was granted to Enterprise Oil in 1993, before Royal Dutch Shell took it over in 2002.
Many locals were concerned over the environmental impacts of the project along with the health and safety aspects. What is surprising is that, despite the amount of information that is available on the Shell to Sea Campaign website, there is little information in the media. Originally in 2004, when the protests first began, the issue received a huge amount of public interest and ample media attention. Now in later years with the situation yet unchanged, it appears that mainstream media is losing interest – it is no longer ‘news’.
Interview with Moira Harrington of Shell to Sea Campaign. Interview by Eimear Clabby, Safeworld Student Writer
“We were considered bog-trotters.”
Maura, a 59 year-old local and retired school teacher, came into public attention when she began protesting against Shell in 2002.
To look at Maura, she is small in height and of slight build, a build both due to her genes, but also to the hunger strike she took part in to capture the attention of Shell and the general public.
I am quite taken aback when I first meet Maura; it’s hard for me to believe that a small, motherly woman of her stature has such power and determination to go against a major force such as Shell.
Maura explained why she is passionate about the campaign:
“On a local level, I feel I should defend this place of beauty and on a national level, I see no economic benefit from the extraction of oil and gas from Ireland.”
After the first planning application for Shell was submitted in 2002, Maura began battling against Shell. This involved five years of research and hard work, and as Maura said herself, “We knew nothing about oil and gas extraction, we lived in a green field area where there was never any heavy industry.”
Maura also spoke of how both her and her local community were really only pinpointed on the map after the troubles with Shell:
“We were always ignored, politically, and every other way until we were discovered by Shell.”
What was also apparent on Shell’s initial exploit fo Erris, was the lack of respect for the local communities and the assumption that the people of this area were somewhat less intelligent than the “movers and shakers” of Shell,
“We were considered bog-trotters.” said Maura.
After enduring 4 years of disputes with protestors, Shell’s plans were still under way and the first pipe laying ship ‘The Solitaire’ arrived at Erris on the 9th September 2008.
Maura felt desperate and began a hunger strike in protest against the arrival of ‘The Solitaire’, the pipe laying ship assisting the Royal Dutch Shells Corrib Gas Project.
Maura vouched to starve herself until such time as The Solitaire exited Irish waters, a process which took ten days outside the gates of Shell at the solidarity camp.
After ten days, the ship moved further out to sea until it was no longer considered within the vicinity of Irish waters. When this was confirmed, Maura ceased her hunger strike, satisfied that Shell’s efforts had been implicated once more.
“Before beginning the hunger strike I was 6 stone 9 pounds, after the 10 days I weighed in at just 6 stone, over a stone below my healthy weight range.”
For a woman of her size and build, Maura should weigh approximately 7 stone 2, but with the stress of the protest campaign and the hunger strike, Maura is far from her ideal weight.
Aside from protesting and the hunger strike, Maura has landed herself in a bit of trouble over the years. Maura is no stranger to Mountjoy Prison, or a courtroom for that matter.
Maura was jailed for 14 days for non-payment of fees relating to her protests against Shell’s Corrib Gas Project. Not only was she arrested, but was arrested outside the funeral of a local neighbour. Her sentence was furthered by 30 days when, on the day of her arrest, she assaulted a member of the Gardai.
When asked about her experience in Mountjoy prison, Maura replied:
“To be perfectly honest, it wasn’t really that bad. I had a lot of support from other women, and it also helped that my husband marched outside the prison gates everyday for the month I was in there, holding a banner “Free Maura”.
When security at Shell is mentioned, Maura’s facial expression morphs into a look of complete disdain. Security levels at Shell are at an ultimate high, with highly trained officials in areas such as anti-terrorism – they are not individuals to be messed with:
“I looked into a security man’s eyes one day I saw no remorse; what I saw was an evil individual, capable of anything.”
Maura takes a lot of negative press in her stride and ignores most of the comments directed at her. In one particular instance, Maura found it hard to forgive and forget; Judge Mary Nevins advised psychiatric assessment for Maura due to her “bizarre behaviour”, a comment that Maura maintains, was of no benefit to the case in question, and was merely a dig in an effort to embarrass Maura.
A somewhat misunderstood individual, Maura simply fights for what she believes is right. There is no denying her dedication to protesting against this project. Even after almost 11 years, her enthusiasm still remains.
Posted Date: 18 October 2012
via Shell to Sea.
via Shell to Sea.
our” government is squarely to blame, “our” government intends to continue on this path, “our” government has no respect for nor allegience to the Irish people, “our” government has been bought and paid for, “our” government couldn’t care less. They get their orders from elsewhere, that much is plain to see.
But hey, wait until the next election, eh?? Let’s get this lot out and replace them with the other lot!! Things will get better then, …won’t they???