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Shell to Sea: Protest at HQ of Shell Exploitation Ireland, 52 Lwr Leeson Street Dublin 2:\2PM December 2nd 2006

There will be a demonstration in Dublin outside the Shell Headquarters, 52 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin (corner of Adelaide Road) on Saturday December 2nd at 2PM.

Speakers will include local people from Rossport including Willie Corduff and Bríd Ní Sheighin, Finbar Dwyer from the Rossport Solidarity Camp, and a representative of Dublin Shell to Sea. Des Bonass of the Dublin Council of Trade Unions will also speak on the importance of the question of the giveaway of the country’s natural resources by the government. Mary Mullen will sing the traditional song Michael Davitt to set the tone for the protest.

Supporters from Dublin, Cork, Galway and around the country will travel to Dublin to show solidarity with the campaign.

The purpose of the demonstration is to deliver to Shell a copy of the discussion document – Fifteen Myths and Realities of the Corrib Gas Scheme, which has been prepared by Dublin Shell to Sea.

For more information email [email protected] or call Brian on 086 809 1010, Tadhg on 0876181620 or Máire on 0876373719.

Eolas i nGaelige le fáil ó Mháire ag 087 637 3719

Please note:

A draft of the Fifteen Myths and Realities of the Corrib Gas Scheme follows:

Fifteen Myths and Realities of the Corrib Gas Scheme

Myth 1
Shell has agreed to reroute the controversial high-pressure gas pipeline away from Rossport.
Reality:
On August 3 2006, Shell announced that they would “consider” moving the route “within the vicinity of Rossport”. The company admits that this might mean simply moving it a few metres to one side; and that the original route has not been ruled out. Green Party leader Trevor Sargent met with Shell executives in October 2006, after which he said it was clear to him that the company had “no intention” of giving up on the original route. Finally, Shell is insisting on retaining the compulsory acquisition orders relating to the land through which the original pipeline route runs.

Myth 2
The Corrib Gas project has been through the whole planning process.
Reality:
* The pipeline: No planning permission was required for the controversial section of pipeline due to be laid through Rossport. This is due to its effectively being classed as an “offshore” pipeline, despite the fact that it would extend 9km inland, passing close to houses en route.
* The refinery: As for the refinery’s planning history, in April 2003 its proposed location was described by An Bord Pleanála’s senior planning inspector, Kevin Moore, as “the wrong site” and the Board rejected permission. Planning permission was eventually granted (for the same location) after high-level meetings between Shell executives, the Taoiseach and government ministers, and a week later, a meeting between Shell and the chairman of An Bord Pleanála. (For more detail on these meetings, obtained under Freedom of Information, see pages 15-16 of the Centre for Public Inquiry report, The Great Corrib Gas Controversy.)

Myth 3
The Shell to Sea campaign is opposed to the Corrib Gas project.
Reality:
The Shell to Sea campaign is not opposed to the Corrib Gas project. The campaign is opposed to the way Shell has configured the project, with a refinery in the bog and a high-pressure production pipeline close to houses in Rossport.

Myth 4
Only a minority of people in Mayo support the demands of the Shell to Sea campaign.
Reality:
A TNS-MRBI poll carried out for TG4 in September 2006 found that 61% of people in Mayo felt the Corrib Gas terminal should be located at sea, while only 23% felt it should be located at Bellanaboy. (Details: www.rte.ie/news/features/election2007/polls/nuachtmayopollrossport.pdf )

A poll by Public Opinion Ltd. for the Mayo Advertiser in October 2006 found that 45% of people in Mayo supported Shell to Sea’s campaign to have the refinery located offshore, while 15% supported Shell’s proposal (40% had no opinion).

Myth 5
The Advantica Report gave the green light to the refinery and pipeline scheme.
Reality:
The scope of the Advantica Report into the proposed high-pressure pipeline through Rossport did not allow for consideration of any aspect of the proposed refinery at Bellanaboy. Neither was Advantica allowed to recommend an alternative route for the pipeline. The report begins by criticising these narrow terms of reference and then goes on to list numerous safety concerns relating to the proposed pipeline, including a total disregard for societal risk at the concept stage. (Read the report at:
www.dcmnr.gov.ie/TAG/)

Myth 6
Initially protestors had certain health and safety fears, but following the jailing of the Rossport Five in June 2005 they became more hardline and demanded that the gas be processed offshore.
Reality:
Local people first called for the gas to be processed offshore in November 2000 and have been consistent in calling for this compromise solution in the six years since then. (The Shell To Sea name was adopted on 27 January 2005.)

Myth 7
The 11 towns in Co. Mayo and Co. Galway included in the extension of the national gas grid, announced on November 3 2006, will receive gas only if and when the Corrib Gas project is completed.
Reality:
The extension of the grid to these towns has been decoupled from the Corrib Gas project. These towns will receive gas from Kinsale or from abroad prior to completion of the Corrib Gas project.

Myth 8
Completion of the Corrib Gas project will bring domestic gas prices back down.
Reality:
Bord Gáis will buy the gas at market rates. On RTÉ’s Five-Seven Live on Friday 21 July 2006, David Bunworth, the head of Bord Gáis Energy Supply, was asked would the Corrib gas project make any difference to the price Irish people pay for gas. “No, it won’t,” he replied.

Myth 9
An offshore terminal is an extravagant demand, which effectively amounts to calling for the project to be scrapped.
Reality:
At Kinsale, gas is processed offshore. This is the standard procedure worldwide for projects of this sort. The Shell-led consortium could build it just offshore, but does not want to on grounds of cost.

Myth 10
Completion of the project will ensure “security of supply” for Ireland into the future.
Reality:
The quantity of gas in the Corrib field is equivalent to the amount of gas Ireland consumes in about eight years. Furthermore, under the terms of its gas exploration licence, the Shell consortium is at liberty to sell the gas to the highest bidder, even if that bidder is outside the state. In other words, Bord Gáis will have to bid against buyers of gas in other countries.

Indeed, at a recent conference in Dublin, Exploring Atlantic Ireland 2006, the assistant secretary of the Department of the Marine and Natural Resources, Martin Brennan, told the international audience of potential investors in Ireland’s offshore gas that “there are now three interconnecters between Ireland and the UK, so if you do hit a gush, there’s plenty of market out there.”

Myth 11
Most landowners affected by the proposed high-pressure pipeline through Rossport, when first approached, were content to allow it be laid throughtheir land.
Reality:
The affected landowners were told from day one that if they didn’t sign up, they would be served court injunctions obliging them to let Shell access their lands. This was borne out in 2005 when injunctions were served and three landowners (along with two other local men) were jailed for refusing to obey the injunctions.

Myth 12
The project will create hundreds of jobs in the Erris region.
Reality:
Several hundred temporary jobs would be created for the building of the terminal. The number of permanent jobs at the terminal would be less than 50, according to Shell. There is no obligation on the company to employ local people.

Myth 13
The gas in the Corrib Field is worth millions of euro to the Irish economy.
Reality:
The Shell-led consortium will own all gas extracted from the Corrib field and can sell it to Bord Gáis at full market rates. The Irish state will receive no royalties and no share of the gas. The financial beneficiaries will be the shareholders of Shell, Statoil and Marathon.

Myth 14
The Shell to Sea campaign in Erris has been infiltrated or hijacked by republicans, environmentalists, socialists, anarchists and others with anti-corporate agendas and a desire to confront gardaí.
Reality:
Campaign tactics are decided by the roughly 100 local people who attend weekly planning meetings at Glenamoy, close to the proposed refinery. However, the local campaign has always called for outside support, partly on the basis that they consider Corrib Gas to be a national issue; and they have received such support from around Ireland and abroad.Shell to Sea groups around Ireland adhere to decisions made at the Glenamoy meetings. Shell to Sea has rejected outright the suggestions by certain politicians and newspapers that “outside agitators” are influential in the campaign. All demonstrations organised by Shell to Sea have been marked by peaceful restraint and self-discipline in the face of serious provocation by certain gardaí. Finally, as the campaign is open to all, to suggest that it can be “infiltrated” is nonsensical.

Myth 15
Objectors to the project are nimbyists (nimby: not in my back yard) : millions of people in Ireland live close to gas pipelines.
Reality:
There is no pipeline like this one anywhere in Ireland. The largest Bord Gáis transmission pipelines are 70 bar and carry treated, odorised gas. The proposed Rossport pipeline is a production pipeline, which would operate at up 145 bar and — according to the Advantica Report — possibly higher; would carry untreated, unodorised gas and would be laid in an unstable bog.

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