Spiegel Online: “David Versus Goliath Off the Irish Coast”


From Spiegel Online – Oil Giant Gets a Shelling:

The documentary “The Pipe,” shown during the Berlinale film festival, tells the story of residents in a remote Irish coastal community who took on the oil giant Shell, and their own government. SPIEGEL ONLINE spoke to the director about the residents’ David and Goliath struggle.

Amid the choppy waves off Ireland’s west coast, Pat “the Chief” O’Donnell steers his small fishing boat into the path of the Solitaire, the largest pipe-laying vessel in the world. Surrounded by Irish Navy ships and police boats, O’Donnell repeatedly refuses to move out of the way — until the police eventually board his fishing boat and arrest him.

This David and Goliath scene is part of the dramatic footage in the documentary “The Pipe,” which screened earlier this week as part of the 2011 Berlinale film festival. The movie depicts the ongoing opposition to the construction of the Corrib natural gas pipeline off the coast of County Mayo in western Ireland.

The struggle of the small coastal community of Erris to have the pipeline rerouted away from their homes since the gas reserves were acquired by Royal Dutch Shell in 2002 has attracted little press attention outside of Ireland — something the documentary aims to change.

“I made this documentary to give the local people a voice,” director Risteard Ó Domhnaill told SPIEGEL ONLINE. He felt that they had been unfairly portrayed in the media as backward, anti-Shell lunatics. “I wanted to redress the balance,” he says.

According to Ó Domhnaill, the core of the ongoing eight-year dispute (the pipeline and onshore refinery are still not operational) is that the local farming and fishing community were not adequately consulted by Shell or the Irish government before planning approval for construction of an onshore pipeline and a refinery were granted.

Read more.

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This entry was posted in Accountability, Civil Disobedience, Civil Rights & Liberties, Geopolitics, ireland, Marine & Fisheries and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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