Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Challenge to politicians over Human Rights abuses in Mayo

Sligo éirígí activist Gerry Casey has described as “shameful” the silence of the north-west’s TD’s and MEP’s over continuing human rights abuses being inflicted on those opposed to the giveaway of our natural resources to Shell in County Mayo. He also claimed that the police forces of this state have become enforcers for Shell law, abandoning their own laws and has challenged these local politicians to make public their stance on these abuses.

Casey said: “In recent weeks, as the pipe laying ship, the Solitaire, has returned to Broadhaven Bay to commence work yet again on Shells pipe-line, intimidation of local residents and shell to sea campaigners has intensified. Local fishermen have been arbitarily arrested as they worked and have had their boats impounded at Shell’s insistence. Despite the fact that these fishermen have a licence to fish where they were doing so, the Gardai have tried to justify their actions by claiming they were breaching a 500-metre exclusion zone around the Solitaire. However, according to the Department of Transport no such zone exists.”

He added: “Local campaigners, including Willie Corduff, one of the Rossport five, have been severely assaulted and hospitalised while one fisherman also had his boat sank. Both incidents were carried out by gangs of masked individuals. In both instances the Gardai treated the victims of these attacks with hostility and have not investigated these incidents. Yet the Gardai are regularly arresting and assaulting peaceful protestors against this project while ignoring completely the regular law breaking being carried out by Shell and its security goons.”

“The actions of Shell, with the assistance of the Gardai, navy and their political masters, in north Mayo are outrageous. The only viable solution to this dispute is for our natural resources in the Corrib gas field and elsewhere to be nationalised. This would allow the local community's genuine environmental concerns to be properly addressed also."

"Our health and education services have suffered major cutbacks in recent times, with nurses and other essential front line staff being laid off. Hospital wards are being shut down and cancer services are being removed. School transport fees are set to increase dramatically with special needs classes being scrapped. Yet as they prepare to inflict even more cutbacks and hardship on workers and those reliant on social welfare, this administration continues to refuse to bring an end to the giveaway of our natural resources.”

He concluded: “Local TD's and MEP's have all remained silent as the people of Erris have suffered continued harassment, intimidation, assault, arbitary arrest and jailing at the hands of the Gardai and the IRMS at the behest of Shell. They have betrayed the people that they claim to represent. They should hang their heads in shame. I am now challenging them to make public their stance on these continuing abuses and the give away to Shell of these valuable resources that belong to the Irish people.”

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