UPDATE : Shell to Sea Protesters blockade Shell refinery

 Shell to Sea  Protesters blockade Shell refinery

Shell to Sea campaigners have set up a blockade and halted traffic on the
road between Belmullet and Ballycastle in Co Mayo.

Two men have chained themselves to a van on the road leading to the proposed
gas refinery site at Bellanaboy.

Trucks working on the site have been unable to gain access to it since
shortly after 9am. The fire brigade from Bellmullet has been called to try
and untie the men.

The campaigners want Shell to refine gas from the Corrib gas field at sea
rather than at Bellanaboy.

"It is vital for the preservation of Erris and the protection of its people
that all work on this destructive and exploitative project be stopped
immediately. Despite a contemptible strategy by the authorities that either
ignores or maliciously persecutes those opposing the project, residents
remain resolute in their opposition," said spokesperson John Monaghan

The Cork branch of the Shell to Sea campaign has travelled to Mayo today to
"show solidarity" for the three Mayo protesters who were convicted of
assault on gardaí.

Cork Shell to Sea spokesman Ray Hanrahan said: "While the State considers the
assault of gardaí a serious criminal offence, neither the government nor the
judiciary have any qualms about the violence, intimidation and lawless
brutality they've unleashed upon the brave people of north-west Mayo."

The Dublin branch of Shell to Sea are holding a protest outside the
Department of Justice this afternoon and will hold a rally on O'Connell
Street to raise public awareness of the campaign.

> Press Release
> Issued by Dublin Shell to Sea
> Friday, July 13th, 2007
> -- Rally on Saturday at 2pm on island in O'Connell Street opposite GPO --
> The Dublin Shell to Sea campaign is holding a rally on Saturday (July
> 14th) on O'Connell Street in Dublin to protest at the jailing of three
> fishermen in Co Mayo for their part in protests at the proposed Shell
> refinery at Bellanaboy.
> The jailing of the three men, Patrick O'Donnell, his son Jonathan and
> Enda Carey, on Wednesday was greeted with shock and outrage in Erris.
> John Monaghan, a native of Rossport, said: "If protestors are going to
> be convicted solely on the evidence of gardai on the ground, that is
> very disturbing. The only thing that was proven in court was that the
> three men were at the protest. There were several video cameras
> present and none of them caught the alleged incident. The judgment was
> given on the conflicting evidence of three gardai."
> Caoimhe Kerins of Dublin Shell to Sea said: "These men have been
> jailed for effectively the same reason as the Rossport Five: for
> opposing Shell's highly unorthodox inland refinery. This jailing will
> help to reinvigorate the campaign. Local people will not tolerate
> their neighbours being imprisoned on contrived charges for opposing an
> inland refinery that is a threat to their health and safety."
> "The gardai at Bellanaboy are acting as mercenaries for the Shell
> corporation. For those who care about the right of a community to
> peacefully protest and for those who care about what is happening to
> the Ireland's natural resources, the time to make yourself heard is
> now."
> Opponents of the inland refinery have reported hundreds of cases of
> physical and verbal assaults by gardai since October 2006, when huge
> numbers of gardai were drafted in to the Erris area to protect Shell's
> operation. Numerous protestors have been injured. Despite complaints
> to an Garda Siochana, the Garda Ombudsman Commission and members of
> the Oireachtas, no official action has been taken to date against any
> gardai.
> Campaigners have been seeking to highlight what they describe as a
> "no-arrest" policy in relation to civil disobedience.
> John Monaghan said: "Non-violent civil disobedience has been active
> around Bellanaboy since early 2005, but not a single person has been
> arrested for obstructing traffic or for failing to move when requested
> to do so. Instead, gardai have engaged in a concerted campaign of
> brutality, violence and intimidation against protestors."
> "Clearly a decision was made by somebody high up not to prosecute for
> obstructing traffic, but instead to beat protestors off the road."
> A recent report by the US-based human rights group, Global Community
> Monitor, into the policing of the protests at Bellanaboy found: "The
> situation in County Mayo arising from the Royal Dutch Shell pipeline
> and on-shore refinery has already resulted in serious injury, loss of
> trust in the rule of law and the Gardai and disruption to the culture
> and values of the area. No outside intervention by the European Union
> or World Human Rights protection entities has occurred to remedy the
> situation. This lack of action and appropriate response threatens to
> create an even more explosive situation."
> www.gcmonitor.org/article.php?id=598
> The three men jailed on Wednesday are attempting to appeal their
> convictions.
> On Friday morning (July 13th), campaigners established a non-violent
> blockade, which prevented traffic from entering refinery site at
> Bellanaboy.
> "These actions will continue for as long as people's right to due
> process are is denied and as long this project continues in its
> destructive and exploitative form," John Monaghan said.
> www.shelltosea.com
> * John Monaghan 086 3123439
> * Caoimhe Kerins 087 7564750