Friends of The Earth International: Jailed Irish Oil Campaigner Among Winners of Environmental "Nobel Prize"

April 23, 2007
9:16 AM

CONTACT:  Friends of The Earth International
William Corduff: +1-415-730-6409

Jailed Irish Oil Campaigner Among Winners of Environmental "Nobel Prize"

SAN FRANCISCO (CALIFORNIA, USA) -- William Corduff from the Rossport farming community in Ireland is one of six winners of the prestigious Goldman Prize [1], which will be awarded to him and other grassroots environmentalists on April 23 in San Francisco, in recognition of his resistance together with his community against an illegal pipeline of oil giant Shell. [2]

Corduff and his local “Shell to Sea Campaign” in the Rossport are part of a global campaign of resistance against the multinational Shell, which is notorous for damaging the environment and abusing human rights in numerous other locations worldwide, for instance leaking more than a million litres of oil under people’s homes in South Africa. [3]

Shell Oil planned to start this off shore gas production in Ireland in 2003, bringing toxic, unrefined gas ashore at Rossport via a high pressure pipeline stretching six miles to a refinery that was to be constructed in neighbouring Bellanaboy.

Despite objections by many Rossport citizens, Shell was granted permission by the Irish government to run the pipeline across the property of more than two dozen farmers and landowners. By allowing Shell to construct the pipeline, the Irish government violated national environmental and development laws requiring local participation and review.

In response, William Corduff and his neighbours began a grassroots campaign to rally the support of their fellow Rossport residents in challenging the pipeline. In June 2005, after refusing Shell access to their property, Corduff and four other men were jailed. Known as the “Rossport Five,” they spent 94 days in jail before being released.

William Corduff, Goldman Prize Recipient 2007, said:

“The bottom line is we will not lie down. We can not. There is too much at stake. We’d have to leave our homes if we were to accept this. We have to protect ourselves, because no one else will.”

Bobby Peek, co-coordinator of Friends of the Earth International’s Corporate Campaign said:

“Multinationals like Shell are becoming desperate in their greed for fossil fuels and ongoing profits. Their outrageously aggressive tactics in Ireland, which resemble their approach in Africa, also show how easily they can influence decision makers. We are astonished to see that the huge lobbying and bullying power that Shell enjoys in Africa is also possible in long-established democracies like Ireland.”

The global Shell Accountability Campaign was started in 2002 by Environmental Health Fund and the Global Community Monitor [4] with the release of the book ‘Riding the Dragon’ [5] that documents Shell Oil’s impacts globally. Since 2002, the Campaign has grown to include community groups from four continents and non-governmental organizations such as Friends of the Earth International [6].


William Corduff of the Shell to Sea Campaign (currently in San Francisco):

Cell: +1-415-730-6409 (in the United States)

Natalie Silverstein, Goldman Environmental Prize. Tel: +1-415 345-6330 (San Francisco) or email

Denny Larson, Director, Global Community Monitor, Cell + 1 415 845 4705 (San Francisco)

Bobby Peek, Co-Coordinator of Friends of the Earth International’s Corporate Campaign (in South Africa): +27-82-464-1383 (South Africa cell)


[1] For more information on the 125,000 USD Goldman Environmental Prize and its 2007 winners see

[2] For information on the Rossport Five and the resistance campaign visit

[3] For more information on destruction due to Shell projects, and what Shell should do to address it, see the latest report by the Shell Accountability Coalition, online here:

[4] For more information on Global on Community Monitor see

[5] Excerpts from the book are online here:

[6] For more information on Friends of the Earth International see