Saturday, June 13, 2009

A Visit To Erris

On a recent trip to Mayo, I was able to visit the site of the Shell gas pipeline and offshore rig (above). I was able to take a few pictures to illustrate the scene for those who weren't there. Forget everything you've heard; this is an area of unparalleled natural beauty, with kind and welcoming people to match. The Shell company has built an offshore rig and pipeline, showing careless disregard for the local people and environment. If the pipeline were to explode (which is entirely possible, due to the gas running through it at a very high pressure) there would be a massive deathtoll in the area and surrounding areas (see this article in Village magazine). Some houses are only 70 metres from the pipeline. According to this video, aluminium levels in the water discharged from the Shell plant should be less than 200 miligrams, instead they are regularly measured to be well over 1700 miligrams.

Security around the rig is constant, and huge ships (unknown to locals) are seen around the rig all day and night. Aside from the brutality shown to protesters (whose camp can be seen above), the environmental impact and the impact on the local communities is often ignored. Few locals have been employed (aside from a handful working in security) on the project, and families have been spilt down the middle over whether the entire Shell project is positive or negative. Some locals feel that Shell have given them employment and business, but on my visit all I saw was an environmental and social catastrophe in waiting.

More of my photos from my trip out to Rossport can be found here

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