When gas is discovered off the coast of the remote Irish fishing village of Rossport, one of the worlds most powerful oil companies decides to move in. The problem is that the locals don’t particularly want Shell, or their big ugly pipeline disturbing their way off life. When we the viewer, arrive in Rossport through this documentary, five locals are already in jail for trying to stop Shell having access to their land. It’s clear whose side the documentarian is on.
It’s a big David and Goliath battle, played out on a grand scale.
Whilst director Risteard O’Domhnaill may be on the side of the community, he doesn’t sugarcoat their problems.
As with most protests, the community quickly rallies round and lest Shell know in no uncertain terms, that they don’t want the pipeline. Shell, naturally doesn’t listen. All they see is profit. The government, unsurprisingly sides with Shell. It’s going to be a tough uphill battle, and as such, community involvement in any protests starts to dwindle, and fractures appear in the main body of protesters, causing a split, with one local going on a hunger strike.
By now, Police are building up, with re-enforcements being bought in from all over, just to enable Shell to get their workers in and out everyday. Tensions flare, arrests are made again.
With no help coming from their own government, the locals appeal to the EU, claiming that the government is allowing Shell to break so many European laws that something has to be done. MEanwhile back at Rossport, the local fishermen have their own part to play in the battle, as they position their fishing boats in the path of the slow moving, behemoth, that is the pipe laying ship.
It’s a gritty little grassroots style documentary. There’s not Michael Moore style antics, no Hollywood polish added in the editing suit. It’s just a riveting look at what happens when a multinational corporation takes on a bunch of passionate Irish folk.
Reviewed by: Jonathan Read