Book on Corrib controversy important, says Higgins

Wed, Oct 6, 2010, 01:00

A NEW book on the Corrib gas controversy covers an “extraordinarily divisive period of time”, Michael D Higgins said last night.

Once Upon a Time in the West – The Corrib Gas Controversy, by Irish Timeswestern correspondent Lorna Siggins, recounts the story of the building of the Corrib gas pipeline in Co Mayo.

The book was “very important” because “from time to time when struggles take place and conflicts are there, there is an absence of a record of how things fell out or how they happened,” the Labour TD said, as he launched the book.

The right to balance democracy with development and the type of discourse allowed in Ireland were among the issues raised in the book, he said.

He spoke of the “spin” which was used during the controversy. “The suggestion that what happened in Mayo was a simple law-and-order issue and what you had to do was exercise the authority of the State was such a distortion of what was taking place,” he said.

It was “incredibly serious” when agencies of the State, particularly of security and justice, are called on to “vindicate some kind of action”, he said.

The book showed the consequences when something as extraordinary as this happened to a rural, Irish-speaking community, he said.

He described the outcome of the events as “tragic”.

He wished for peace in Mayo and hoped that future generations would be able to look at the environment the way people used to.

Among those present at the Dublin launch were Willie Corduff, Vincent McGrath and Micheál Ó Seighin, who were jailed in 2005 for their action in trying to stop Shell’s work.

Also in attendance was Mayo fishermen Pat O’Donnell, who was jailed for his protest action.

Once Upon a Time in the West – The Corrib Gas Controversyis published by Transworld Ireland.