Shell to Sea campaigner ends hunger strike


Shell to Sea campaigner Maura Harrington has called off her hunger strike after an 11-day protest.

Ms Harrington (54), a retired school principal, went on hunger strike to demand the departure of the Solitaire, brought in by Shell to lay the Corrib offshore gas pipeline, from Irish waters.

She called off her action today when the pipe-laying ship left Irish waters.

In a statement released today, Ms Harrington accused the Government of neglect, and said it continued to put the profits of Shell before the needs of the people.

“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,” she said.

“If Shell is capable of any rationality, now is the time for them to accept that they will never put a pipeline through Glengad.”

US activist and campaigner Erin Brockovich today urged the oil giant to reroute its controversial Mayo gas pipeline.

The former legal clerk, who famously took on a massive power company accused of toxic leaks, gave her support to the campaigners opposing the development in north Co Mayo.

Speaking in Dublin today, Ms Brockovich said the pipeline must be relocated if it would negatively impact on local residents’ health or property, which is denied by Shell.

“There is no compromise when it comes to health and safety and Shell should respect that. If it is family land or some type of heritage land or preserved land, they’ve got to go around it.

If a condition exists where a company like Shell needs to be in a location and there are residences you need to move them.”

Ms Brockovich won a multi-million dollar legal battle against energy firm PG & E for families affected by contaminated water in a Californian town.

She said she was confident a compromise could be reached between campaigners and Shell after discussing the matter with Minister for the Environment John Gormley.

She also said the hunger strike by Ms Harrington was not the most effective way to reach a resolution.

“I clearly understand it’s her way of making a very, very strong statement about something she feels strongly about, but I would want her to eat because we need to eat.”

“I completely understand their concerns. I deal with issues in the United States where pipelines have been put in, they’ve leaked and created health problems.

“That is always a family’s concern, and they should be concerned and I’m glad that they are.

“Many people are in favour of progress but they’re not in favour of progress to the point where you degrade our environment and jeopardise our public health and safety.”

Ms Brockovich is in Dublin to speak about the benefits of eating organic food. She will give a lecture at University College Dublin tomorrow as part of Glenisk Organic Dairy’s celebrations for National Organic Week.