Gavin Mullan‘s photographs from ‘No Consent’ take us to Co.Mayo, in the West of Ireland, and into a small rural village called Glengad. The scene of an ongoing protest against Shell over the building of a pipe that will pump gas from the Corrib gas fields – 83 kilometres off Erris Head – to an inland refinery where it will be cleaned and depressurised to be sold for export.
For nearly 20 years many residents of this beautiful untouched part of the world have been fighting Shell and the State over this development that will not only destroy livelihoods but an entire culture; a way of life and a pristine environment. Shell have form. They have plundered and destroyed the Niger Delta, the Gulf of Mexico and many other areas of the world in their pursuit of oil and profits and many in Ireland, and particularly in Mayo, are worried that this beautiful part of Ireland will be subject to the same contamination and toxic destruction.
As it stands local communities have been torn apart, some imprisoned while others have gone on hunger strike in protest. And while the assault on peoples lives has been heavy handed Mullan has chosen to step back and look quietly. To reflect on the landscape and document what is present in the knowledge that it soon might be but a memory. He gives us views of the harsh landscape, protesters at rest, small farms and sheds full of turf, fences, barriers and building sites owned by Shell. The demarcation of territory. The enclosure of a mythical land by a corporate entity.
They are powerful pictures that attest to the nefarious influence corporations have over Governments, to the fallacy of Democracy and by extension the corruption of the Irish state. In their quiet way they are damning. There is no need to scream. Just look, reflect, see, know, understand. This part of the world, once home to the Fir Bolg will soon by colonised by Shell. A company whose bottom line is the dollar. And what of culture, community, people? They are an irrelevance in our age of insatiable greed. Here’s what Mullan has to say about the series:
In 1996, a gas field was discovered 80 kilometres off the coast of County Mayo in Ireland. The oil company Shell are planning to bring this gas ashore and pump it 9 kilometres inland to a refinery where it will be cleaned and depressurised to be sold for export. Many people in this area are against this plan and have been protesting in favour of stopping the project all together. The construction is ruining the land families have lived and worked on for decades and they feel the gas pipe would endanger lives
I thought I’d give you a documentary to look at too. See for yourself. Listen to those that live there.