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Irish Times: Rossport group to finish its ‘long walk’ to Dublin

By: Lorna Siggins, Western Correspondent, Irish Times
Published: Aug 12, 2006

The Lord Mayor of Dublin, councillor Vincent Jackson, intends to welcome members of Mayo’s Rossport community to the city today when they complete their 300km “long walk” from the west.

The group left the Erris peninsula last month to highlight issues relating to the 900 million Corrib gas project. They were joined at stages by some of the five men jailed last year over their opposition to the Corrib onshore pipeline and were accompanied throughout by the Shell to Sea campaign trailer.

The group, led by blacksmith John Monaghan, said it received a “tremendous response” en route through Mayo, Roscommon, Longford, Westmeath and Kildare. Inspiration for the walk came from various sources, including Mahatma Gandhi and the eviction of the Davitt family in Straide, Co Mayo, in the 1850s.

“This centenary year of Michael Davitt’s death is also a fitting time to commemorate his own struggles,” Mr Monaghan said, “and show how people power and non-violent resistance are themes that remain as relevant today as they have always been.”

Today’s final stage is from Lucan to Kilmainham Gaol, where the group will be met by the Lord Mayor at noon. They will continue into the city centre, where Micheal O Seighin, one of the Rossport Five, will give a short address at the GPO.

The walkers have urged supporters in Dublin to “walk the last mile or so with people from Rossport, to show support for the struggle against Shell and the Government”. They intend to finish their event before 3pm, “to allow people to watch the Dublin versus Westmeath match in Croke Park”.

Shell E&P Ireland hopes to resume work at the Bellanaboy gas terminal next month before reaching any agreement on a modified route for the controversial pipeline. The Shell to Sea campaign intends to maintain its pickets at the terminal site.

Shell also has indicated that it wants to drop its permanent injunction application against objectors, if counter-claims are also withdrawn.

Shell Exploration and Production Ireland said yesterday that a local man, Padraig McAvock from Belderrig, has been appointed as the company’s fisheries liaison co-ordinator for the Erris area.

Mr McAvock, a fisherman for 40 years, has worked with Bord Iascaigh Mhara since 1990 on a number of marine surveys.

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