Not Only to Rock the Boat, But Indeed to Sink It: Exploring Grassroots Resistance in the West of Ireland.

Megan Kelley, SIT Graduate Institute - Study Abroad

Ireland: Transformation of Social and Political Conflict


This report is the outcome of a three-week intensive immersion into the small community in Erris that opposes the development of the Corrib Gas Project. Royal Dutch Shell, the primary shareholder of the project, has been working in apparent collusion with the Irish government to bring the gas from the offshore Corrib wells to an onshore processing plant at Ballinaboy, Co. Mayo. A distinct community, including the Rossport Solidarity Camp, has arisen in opposition to the project. This group has spent the past 11 years challenging Shell by using both legal proceedings and nonviolent direct action tactics. This research examines how the community has changed and mobilized in response to the project. Data was collected primarily through participant observation and semi-structured interviews. The report concludes that the local area has faced division and continuous dissension, but that the project has resulted in the inspiring formation of a concrete opposition group. This group has become its own cohesive community, united by the common goal of halting the Corrib Project as it currently stands.