Thursday, 19 April 2007

Vindication for Rossport 5

Very good news from the Irish High Court yesterday

* The stance of the Rossport Five and Brid McGarry has been legally
* The original pipeline route through Rossport is now defunct.
* Shell will have to pay the £1 million costs, including those of the Rossport landowners.

In a nutshell, Shell was applying to drop the permanent injunction against several local landowners. They had dropped the interlocutory (temporary)injunction in September 2005 - they dropped that in order to get the five men out of jail, as having the men in jail was doing Shell so much harm.
Since then they have been trying to drop the permanent injunction.

But the local landowners said, you can't just drop the injunction as though it never meant anything - some of us went to jail as a result of that injunction. Justice Mary Laffoy's ruling today agrees with that standpoint and imposes conditions on the dropping of the injunction, including:

* CAOs (Compulsory Acquisition Orders) be dropped against landowners along the pipeline route. This means that the original pipeline route is now formally and legally defunct. The only way it could go ahead is with the consent of the landowners.

* Shell pick up the legal costs associated with the injunction. The Rossport Five are still liable for the costs associated with their contempt of court,but these are marginal. And for Shell to pursue these would be highly vindictive and an extremely bad PR move.

The ruling also means that the stance taken by the Rossport Five and Brid McGarry is now LEGALLY VINDICATED. To say they are vindicated is no longer an ideological position. It is now a legal position.

A further blow for Shell is that the company hoped that other legal matters which were raised during all the proceedings (arising from counterclaims made against Shell by the landowners) would be dispensed with. This has NOT happened. Justice Laffoy ruled that there are issues of "public law" still to be considered.

It can be said that Shell abused the injunction process. They took out an injunction against five people, had them jailed on the foot of that injunction, and then tried to drop the injunction.

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