Michael Clifford's piece from The Sunday Tribune (12th July) is a serious misrepresentation of our 27th-June Shell2Sea street-meeting in Galway.
He maintains that “for the sake of cheap expediency,” and to further the agenda of certain “elements,” we made a special (and indecent) point of photographs of the late Michael Dwyer carrying guns; he has since repeated his allegation on the Pat Kenny show. There were in fact no such “elements” at the meeting and no private agenda: our declared purpose was to call for suspension of work on the Corrib Gas project pending a full review of its environmental, legal and economic dimensions; a petition to that effect was available for public signature.
To enable people to understand the situation and to make up their own minds about it, we displayed several informative collages made up of scores of cuttings from all manner of newspapers and magazines – e.g. The Irish Times, The Sunday Times, The Irish Examiner, The News of the World, The Mail on Sunday, Village magazine, Phoenix, an Phoblacht, local Galway papers, local Mayo papers. No article was blown up, no photos had any more emphasis than that given them by their original editors. The collages are currently in storage in Galway and can be inspected if required. We heard no complaint about them – there was an open mike which could have been used by an offended person, but no-one did.
We assert our right to inform the public by collating as much published material as possible, and thereby to alert politicians of the seriousness of the situation in Mayo. An Indymedia article which had come out that week, dealing with Private Security at the Corrib Gas project, is a first-class piece of journalism that fills many of the gaps in public knowledge, and we were able to distribute copies of it at the meeting. It clearly indicates the curious connections between the death of Dwyer, the political background of some of the security men at the Shell site in Mayo, and the nationalization by the Bolivian government of a gas pipeline part-owned by Shell.
Nothing has been conclusively proven, but the known facts are so suggestive that it would be an offence against truth to suppress them. To plead in this context that Dwyer was an Irishman and his mysterious activities must be hushed up for the sake of his family is nothing less than emotional blackmail; it is a sentimental species of self-censorship, a phenomenon that has plagued Irish news-reporting for generations, destroying integrity and blinding understanding.