photo by William Murphy (infomatique on Flickr CC)

Fossil fuel giant Shell struck up a deal with Ireland’s outgoing Fianna Fail party to construct an onshore refinery and massive gas pipeline in a remote corner of the country. It was one of Fianna Fail’s final acts in power.

Locals, many who work in fishing and farming, have campaigned and protested vigorously against the project for some 10 years. They succeeded in getting Shell to reduce pressure levels in the pipe and route it away from the village of Rossport, but are still dissatisfied because of the undemocratic nature of the project and the fact that the plans will take the pipeline through supposedly protected nature reserves.

Many different planning applications have been made for the different components of the project, each wending their way tortuously through the planning system, with the result that local residents have been fighting it for more than 10 years. The campaign became increasingly bitter and in 2005, five men were jailed for 94 days for breaching a court order to allow Shell workers onto their land to begin preparations for the pipeline. The land was subject to a compulsory purchase order. Protestors also blockaded the site of the new refinery and were forcibly removed by hundreds of baton-wielding police.

–The Ecologist

A documentary film on the story, entitled “The Pipe” is to be released this year.

For more, see this article in The Ecologist, and check out the trailer for “The Pipe” below.