Anti-pylon irish campaigners picket ESB main office

I wish to highlight a few points made in THE IRISH TIMES report below: the anti-pylon protestors' main concern is health; they are willing to be jailed, if necessary. Incidentally, this jailing business is not just a theatrical flourish on their part. There are five Irish protestors in jail right now (and will remain there indefinitely) who oppose, on health grounds, the laying of a Shell gas pipline on their land in Co. Mayo. (See below for details.) Best, Imelda, Cork


"Anti-pylon campaigners picket office Marese McDonagh

Opposition to the ESB's plan to erect high-voltage power lines at a number of locations throughout the country gathered momentum yesterday when protesters gathered outside the company's head office in Dublin.

About 130 campaigners representing groups in Bantry, Co Cork, Sligo, Roscommon and Fingal, Co Dublin, handed in a letter requesting that the lines go underground. The protesters say their biggest worry is the health implications of pylons.

Frank Mulligan, from Grange, Boyle, Co Roscommon, a member of the group opposing a planned 65km (40 mile) line from Flagford, Co Roscommon, to Srananagh, Co Sligo, said there was no reason why the lines could not go underground. "In our case they could reduce the length of the line by 15 miles if they buried it along the route of the N4," he said.

Mr Mulligan said the group was prepared to go "all the way" on this issue and would not be giving the ESB access to private land, even if ordered to do so by the courts.

"We already have a list of people who are prepared to go to jail if it comes to it and a second list of people ready to look after their property," he said.

An ESB spokesman insisted that there was no health risk from the pylons and said repeated studies had failed to establish any link. Full planning permission had been granted for the three lines which were the subject of yesterday's protest, he added.

"It is standard international practice to put these lines overhead because the cost of putting them underground is multiples of the overhead option," said the spokesman.

"The time to locate and rectify faults is obviously much longer if they are underground," he added.

© The Irish Times"


BreakingNews.ie: Shell pipeline protestors returned to jail Shell pipeline protestors returned to jail 14/07/2005

- 14:47:04 Dozens of supporters gathered outside Dublin’s High Court today as five Co Mayo men were ... http://breaking.tcm.ie/2005/07/14/story211699.html -

Shell pipeline protestors returned to jail

14/07/2005 - 14:47:04

Dozens of supporters gathered outside Dublin’s High Court today as five Co Mayo men were returned to jail over their protest against a controversial gas pipeline.

The relatives, friends and supporters of the men from Rossport in Co Mayo called for the Government to act as they were returned to Cloverhill Prison in Dublin.

“It really makes me very sad what is happening here today, to see fine men in jail for doing nothing except trying to defend the right to live at home in their own house,” Dr Jerry Cowley, an Independent TD, said.

“It has come about because Shell are persisting and the Government are persisting in not going for off-shore processing of this gas. That is the only way this can happen, because this pipe is dangerously close to people’s houses and it will always be.”

The five men – Micheál Ó Seighin, Vincent McGrath, his brother Philip, Willie Corduff and Brendan Philbin – were sent back to jail for failing to purge their contempt over a High Court injunction preventing them obstructing the construction of the pipeline.

Shell E & P Ireland is seeking to pump gas from the Corrib gas field along the pipe to an onshore refinery at Bellanaboy in Mayo as part of a €990m project.

The Independent TD said he was disappointed in Minister for Natural Resources Noel Dempsey’s reaction to the matter.

“I think he should take the power that he has and use it and insist Shell do an off-shore terminal,” Dr Cowley said.

Mr Dempsey said he had launched a safety review following a week of negotiations with the protesters from the Rossport area.

The review will examine all the documentation surrounding the design, construction and operation of the onshore pipeline in order to assess whether it meets health and safety standards.

After the court case, a statement from the five men, which was read out to supporters, said: “We are in jail as a last resort to protect ourselves and our families, our neighbours and our area from potential destruction by a gas pipeline rupture.

"That remains our position, our one and only requirement, no-one can do less.

“Pipelines rupture, no pipeline engineer intends this to happen but it does with sickening frequency.

"The outlandish pipeline proposed here to be forced in close proximity past our houses is the stuff of nightmares.”

The jailed men want Shell to build the gas refinery offshore, because they fear that pumping unrefined gas past their homes will lead to a health and safety risk.

Mark Garavan, who read out the statement on behalf of the men, said the families of the five Co Mayo men were suffering terribly.

He added: “They believe that by being in prison they are preventing the pipeline from going ahead, they think they are therefore doing their duty of care to their families and to the community.”

Mr Garavan said local people were still maintaining a vigil at the Bellanaboy terminal site.

“There are images of blockades which sound rather malevolent, what is going on there is nothing other than a velvet revolution,” he said. “It is simply a very warm very positive carnival atmosphere.”

Mary Corduff, whose husband Willie Corduff has been jailed over the injunction, said the visits to Cloverhill prison were very painful for the families.

“It is very hard for our children to see their dad being locked up for something they know and we all know he shouldn’t be in there for,” she said.

“All they are looking for is safety, to be able to live down in our own area equally as safe as everyone else in Ireland. And with this pipeline that won’t be possible.

“I think any father would do the same for his wife or his children or his area, which he is trying to protect.”

The men will appear before the High Court again on July 25 next.


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