Shell to Sea protester ends 10-day hunger strike

Sat, Sep 20, 2008, 01:00

SHELL TO Sea campaigner Maura Harrington ended a 10-day hunger strike yesterday with a statement rejecting any alternative location for the Corrib gas refinery.

"Any attempt to extricate Shell and the Government from the nexus that is the Corrib gas project is doomed to failure," Ms Harrington said, in her first public criticism of Erris community groups seeking compromise.

The groups, Pobal Chill Chomáin and Pobal Le Chéile, involve former Shell to Sea supporters living in the Kilcommon parish area of Erris, including members of the Rossport Five. They have proposed an alternative location at Glinsk which would avoid installation of a high- pressure onshore pipeline.

Ms Harrington, who retired as school principal a week ago on her 55th birthday, called off her action some 24 hours after Shell EP Ireland confirmed the pipelaying ship, Solitaire, was being sent to Britain for "assessment". The ship had been anchored off Killybegs, Co Donegal, for the past week, following suspension on September 10th of a planned offshore pipelaying programme in Broadhaven Bay.

The company, which faces legal issues relating to fishing rights in the bay, said the ship had sustained damage shortly after arrival in the bay. Ms Harrington initiated her fast in protest at the ship's presence, and said she would not stop until it left Irish territorial waters. In a statement, Ms Harrington said "any alternative location for the Corrib gas infrastructure will not build new schools, new hospitals or contribute to the National Pension Fund . . . Until we the people benefit from what is rightfully ours, any attempt to extricate Shell and the Government from the mess that is Corrib remains doomed to failure."

Shell had no comment to make on Ms Harrington's action.