Shells manipulation of the legal system


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Locals thrown into jail over illegal oil pipeline in Northern Ireland.

Five men from Rossport in County Mayo have been imprisoned since last June
for protesting at the construction of the Corrib pipeline by Shell. The men
were imprisoned after breaching a court injunction not to obstruct the
construction of a pipeline. Shell have since been ordered to dismantle two
miles of the pipeline, as it had been built without consent.

Caroline Lucas, Principal Speaker for the Green Party said,

'I am appalled that a court order has been granted when the grounds for
doing so were themselves unlawful. By starting some aspects of work in
Rossport prior to receiving the correct authorisation Shell have acted

The right to protest is enshrined in both the Irish constitution and in the
European Convention on Human Rights. It is unacceptable that this
entitlement has been over-ruled to, I assume, protect the interests of a
multinational corporation such as Shell.'

The peaceful protesters were opposed to the pipeline being built because
they were concerned about safety and environmental issues.

Caroline Lucas said, 'The proposed pipeline will run through volatile wet
peat close to family homes and land, putting them at risk if there is damage
to the pipe. The pipe will contain pressurised, wet and untreated gas, full
of impurities, straight from the well. The level of pressure in the pipeline
will be three times the typical international standards set for onshore

"Also at risk is the fragile environment at the Corrib field. The laying of
the pipeline and the possibility of a leak, place the peat and bog land
under threat, as well as posing a risk to wildlife and habitats in
surrounding areas. Again, a full and independent Environmental Impact
Assessment must be a pre-condition of any planning consent."

The protesters, known as the Rossford Five, have aroused intense media
interest. Their case stands to make an important example in terms of human
rights. The London Irish Greens held a protest outside Shell HQ on Tuesday
of this week, to demonstrate solidarity with the persecuted men.

'This is an extremely important case - both in terms of the questions it
raises about Shell's apparent manipulation of the legal system, and in terms
of the rights of local people to protect the natural resources in their
community. I hope that the Irish government can take action to show that the
rights, needs and wishes of its citizens carry more weight than those of
Shell and other multinational corporations,' concluded Caroline Lucas.