The following is a press release I released today expressing my solidarity with the struggle of the people of Rossport against the Shell Corporation. Tomorrow, that solidarity will be expressed in person, as I join hundreds of others in protesting against the exploitation of our communities, our environment and our natural resources.
Press statement: Paul Murphy MEP (Socialist Party) 24 August 2011
· Tomorrow 25 August – Socialist Party delegation travelling to Rossport to protest against Shell’s onshore pipeline
· History repeats itself with Minister Rabbitte following path trod by Eamon Ryan of overseeing criminal giveaway of vital oil and gas resources
“A daily battle is being waged in west Mayo, with the area of Rossport once again being effectively militarised. Peaceful protestors are facing violence and arrest while the Gardai and Shell’s private security firm work hand in hand. This is a crucial struggle over the preparations for the onshore section of Shell’s high pressure raw gas pipeline that poses a major health and environmental threat to the local community.
“A delegation of Socialist Party members, including Cllr. Matt Waine and myself, are travelling tomorrow to Rossport to participate in these protests alongside the community and other Shell to Sea protestors. It is outrageous that the state’s police force are being used to enforce the building of an unsafe pipeline to facilitate the giveaway of massive gas resources at the same time that the government is preparing to announce a three year plan of savage austerity.
“The conversion from half-hearted supporter of the people of Rossport to Minister responsible for giving away our natural resources is unfortunately now a well-trodden path. Minister Rabbitte is now following in the steps of the Green Party’s Eamon Ryan. Minister Rabbitte should perhaps be reminded of the fact that he personally presented an award to the Rossport Five in 2006.* Despite his recent extolling of the giveaway of our vital natural resources, the truth remains that working people will see no benefit from the substantial oil and gas reserves that are being given away. The international market price will have to be paid for this gas and recent research by William Hederman* suggests that the tax take from the gas fields in Irish waters may be as low as 7%.
“The Socialist Party demands the immediate halting of work on this pipeline. The Corrib gas field, valued by then Minister Eamon Ryan at €8 billion in 2008, should be brought into democratic public ownership. It should be developed in a safe manner, with offshore refining. The wealth from Corrib as well as the other oil and gas fields in Irish waters, worth potentially in excess of €500 billion, should be used for the benefit of people across Ireland, rather than going to line the pockets of super-rich oil multinationals. “
Paul Murphy will be available for comment and interview throughout the day tomorrow and will be tweeting @paulmurphymep.