Risteard O’Domhnaill's stirring documentary shows a community's fight against big business
In 1996 natural gas was discovered off the west coast of Ireland. Shortly afterwards, Shell UK announced plans to run a pipe through the waters and land of Rossport in County Mayo to an inland refinery. Risteard O’Domhnaill’s remarkable film tells what happened next. In short (and there was nothing short about it) the community came together to save the destruction and pollution of the fishing grounds, peat bogs and the natural beauty of the place they call home, while Shell, backed by the money-hungry pre-economic collapse Irish government, ran roughshod over their civil and civic rights.
O’Domhnaill’s unobtrusive camera catches every disturbing moment, as groups of passionate rural souls with Father Ted accents make the journey to being classed as terrorists by the state and their corporate paymasters.
It’s impossible not to be moved watching these ordinary folk being beaten and arrested by the police as they begin to realise there is one rule for biochemical giants and another for themselves. Their multi-pronged campaign is a marvel of community activism and it runs the gamut from direct blockade action and a hunger strike to complex legal action that takes them to the courts of the European Union. The people of Rossport are the real action heroes.
This is a Take One Action presentation. To find out more visit takeoneaction.org.uk.
Filmhouse, Edinburgh from Fri 27-Mon 30 May. A Q&A with the director will follow the 8.15pm screening on Sat 28 May.