OFF HIS PERCH Kevin Myers speaking on RTÉ’s Today with Seán O’Rourke two days after he was sacked from The Sunday Times for making antisemitic remarks in his column.
IT was so easy for sacked Sunday Times columnist Kevin Myers to mock and defame the Corrib Gas protestors in article after article over the years. From his perch in his eyrie somewhere in the rolling hills of Kildare, he picked on the protestors again and again without properly informing himself of the protest’s deep community nuances, cynically dismissing genuine fears as ‘pagan voodoo of the fir-bolgs’. Well, the Shell spin machine had ensured that official Ireland turned its back on this community, whose heritage and pristine environment is among the last bastions of a culture untainted by much of the consumerism and globalist capitalism that thousands of holiday makers who indulge in the area crave to escape.
Of course, Myers was right when he opined that the protest had been hijacked (on occasion) by those with broader agendas, but did he ever bother leaving his feathered nest to drive down to Erris and meet some of the locals? The retired teachers, farmers and fishermen, Gaelic culture experts, community activists, concerned citizens who have done the State some service through the fact that their protests have ensured the Corrib Gas Project is a much safer development?
Only a few weeks ago, after Shell E&P Ireland announced it was selling its share in the controversial project to a Canadian pension fund, Myers rounded on this remote part of the country and its community once again. Indeed, in the article (‘Shell to Sea protestors ought to pipe down’, Sunday Times, July 16), he decided to use the tragic death of a young German hydraulics engineer who was servicing the tunnel boring machine in September 2013 to support his argument.
“Is the name Lars Wagner familiar? Probably not. He was a young German who was killed building an unnecessary tunnel under Sruwaddacon Bay in 2013. This work was undertaken by Shell in response to local objections to An Bord Pleanala that a short pipeline direct to the land might endanger people locally.
Ah, they have a point, surely? How would I like one beside me? Well, I do have one, just 20 yards from my bedroom, so there.”
MYERS omitted to say that the original Corrib raw gas pipeline would have been 345 bars traversing unstable bogland in an area where there had been a catastrophic landslide on September 19, 2003. Houses were destroyed, hundreds of livestock killed and graves washed out to sea when – after a deluge of rain – areas of Dooncarton Hill slid away. At the time, Fine Gael Councillor Gerry Coyle dubbed it Erris’s 9/11.
He also omitted to mention that the pipeline running close to his house – assuming it was a Bord Gáis Éireann one – was anything from 3 to 78 bar.
Nor did he let his readers know that this was a Bord Pleanála decision made by experts employed to ensure the democratic process of our republic is adhered to properly (see Planning and Development Act 1976). Of course, mentioning these minor details would only undermine his polemical positions.
Instead, he used the spurious argument that Lars Wagner was ‘an indirect and inadvertent victim of the Shell to Sea campaign, so he’s forgotten’. “Is there any guilt felt in Rossport over his tragic death?” he asked.
Clearly, Mr Myers must not have not read the recent court case about Wagner’s death in which the German civil engineering company building the subsea tunnel across Sruwaddacon Bay for the pipeline pleaded guilty to breaches of health and safety legislation and was fined €300,000 at a sitting of Castlebar Circuit Criminal Court.
From Rossport to Jobstown
IN the same opinion piece Myers argued that ‘unchecked Rossportitis mob law eventually proved contagious and spread to Jobstown’.
So, Mr Myers, the retired teachers and ageing farmers and fishermen of Rossport and Carrateige got up on their tractors and trailers and left the bogs and boreens of windswept Erris, crossed the great river Shannon and managed to infiltrate the austerity-worn citizenry of Jobstown in south Dublin. Using cunning strategies honed by such mythical heroes as Mannanán Mac Lir and Queen Medb of Connacht, they drilled these suburban hordes in the magical methods of protest, intoning bardic incantations and pagan spells while arming them with their shillelaghs and fragarachs.
Sure you’d need to get up early in the morning to keep up with the cute hoors of Rossport.