On Tuesday, the 29th June, 2005, in Dublin, Ireland, 5 farmers from Rossport, Co. Mayo were sent to Mountjoy Prison, Co. Dublin, for violating an order imposed by the High Court which was previously imposed upon them by the same court.
The order is to enforce an injunction sought by the Shell oil company, to prevent farmers from interfering with the laying of a gas pipeline upon their land. This pipeline is to supply a land-based processing terminal, the first onshore gas processing plant in the world.
The supply pipeline will be carrying raw, unprocessed gas at high pressure, in close proximity to houses and through a protected estuary. The processing plant will burn waste oil on site and discharge it into the atmosphere, and will dump toxic waste directly into the estuary, which is a habitat for rare marine life. The Co. Mayo coastal area itself is a Whale and Dolphin sanctuary.
The Irish Government has given Shell the power to enforce Compulsory Acquisition Orders (CAOs), against private landowners: State power has been transferred by the Government to a private company. In addition to this, State lands (over 100 acres) were given free of charge to Shell by the Government as the site for the processing plant. The entire Corrib gas field has been given to Shell with no State involvement or benefit of any kind. Shell’s expenses for the last 25 years will be written off against the 25% tax rate. The operation will be based in Ayre, Scotland, with no obligation to use Irish labour or services. The Irish taxpayer will be funding the entire Corrib operation, providing Shell with what is essentially a huge supply of free gas, and then buying the gas from Shell at market price.