Last week, six of us from Leeds sorted out a van, picked up a marquee, and headed to the Rossport Solidarity Camp in western Ireland. And had a great time working and playing hard. Rossport is a campaign supporting a local community based around Broadhaven Bay fight a refinery and pipeline being put in through Shell in an area where outstanding natural beauty is a phrase that does not do the place full justice. The pipeline, being put through a bog and the land of local farmers, will put people's lives at risk and threaten the local ecology.
The camp has moved to a field at Aghoos, opposite the latest bit of ground where Shell are laying the next stage of pipe to bring the gas inland to the Bellinaboy refinery - semi-mothballed because of the huge delays the campaigns by the local and the camp have been imposing. We spent the first half of the week helping set it up the new camp so it would be ready for the mini-festival at the weekend. We built grey-water systems and benders, put up marquees and cooked for the masses, gave massages to the wonderful locals and helped with the bar.
A few of us had been to Rossport before so it was great to catch up with old friends. Given how friendly people were it was very easy to make many new ones as well. There was, refreshingly, a large amount of politics forming part of the general life on camp, both in action and disussion. It would be the first to say that it is far from perfect, but it is a good place to learn from.
At the weekend, 30 people walked over to the Shell compound and lifted up all the bog mats which had been put down to allow heavy machinery to move across and put in boreholes. For over an hour all you could hear was the steady thud of them being systematically lifted and rolled out of the reach of the machines. The police could do nothing, and security was outnumbered. Other actions happened as well. See the account, pictures (of action and camp) and video of action at http://www.wsm.ie/c/shell-bog-road-rossport-solidarity-camp
While we were there, there was also a ceremony for the new boat of Pat O'Donnells - another bit of local defiance against the power of Shell. His last one having been deliberately sunk by armed, masked men following his determined resistance.
We also send our solidarity and best wishes to those who did the lock-on to the compound - http://www.indymedia.ie/article/99686
The mixture of action and discussion, of friendship and partying worked really well; we all had a wicked time and were sorry to leave. Some of us will be back. We encourage everyone to go if they get a chance - the camp is open all the time on a beautiful site surrounded by amazing mountains. From 4-6th June it his hosting a Party Against The Pipe - for more details see the website at
With luck, there will be a public event in Leeds this month to talk more about the campaign. Keep your eyes posted.