“It would be a question of the utmost public concern if an undercover officer were effectively permitted to operate without justification, authorisation or oversight in Ireland.”
THE COMPANY which provides security for the Corrib gas project in Co Mayo has said it is working “to the highest standards”.
Integrated Risk Management Services (IRMS) was responding to disclosure of a company “situation report”, recording movements at a protest camp located on private land overlooking the Corrib gas pipeline worksite.
The report by IRMS’s “Aughoose Command and Control Centre” comprises a timeline of movements on June 29th and 30th last, from 7am to 7am.
In a statement to The Irish Times, IRMS said that “we are tasked with protecting people and property in respect of the Corrib gas project and in so doing, operate to the highest standards, acting responsibly and proportionally at all times”.
The Private Security Authority (PSA), which is the State regulator for the security industry, said it was “not aware of any breach of the Private Security Services Acts or any other legislation in relation to this incident”.
“However, where a complaint against a PSA licence holder is received by the authority, there is provision under section 39 of the Private Security Services Acts 2004 and 2011 for the authority to undertake an investigation,” a PSA spokesman said.
A Rossport Solidarity Camp spokesman said that there was “no State agency that we can trust to report this to, given our experience with Corrib to date”.
The Department of Justice said that private security companies were regulated by the PSA which was “independent”, and “complaints about breaches of the Data Protection Act are a matter for the Data Protection Commissioner”.
Members of the camp are taking legal advice on the surveillance. The camp, initially established at Rossport in 2005, is pitched with the permission of a local farmer in a privately-owned field at Aughoose, overlooking the gas pipeline worksite on Sruwaddacon estuary.
The security company’s report was inadvertently forwarded by email to a third party, following its circulation among a group of 10 email addresses on June 30th.
Two retired senior gardaí are among the 10 on the initial circulation list: former superintendent Pat Doyle, who works for IRMS as part of the Senaca Group; and former chief superintendent and head of the Mayo Garda division John Carey, who was hired by Shell EP Ireland in 2006.
No names were recorded in the report, which stated that 11 people were in the camp at 7am on June 29th and identified four vehicles on the roadside, describing these as “known” and giving their make.
It then recorded details of movements from 10.30am to 4.54pm, beginning with “(1) cyclist left the camp in the Glengad direction”.
At another shift change-over at 6.45pm on the same day, the report said there were five people in the camp and identified two vehicles parked on the roadside.
Six more movements between 7.09pm and 11pm were listed, and 12 people at the camp and four identified vehicles parked on the roadside were recorded at 7am.
The report provided headings for “known protesters” and “Known local protestors [sic]”, but these spaces were left blank.