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New Release: Further Garda violence as Corrib protests continue

--  Eight campaigners arrested in the last 4 days --

Yesterday, a standoff which saw a Glengad resident refuse to yield to Shell trucks, again saw Gardaí resort to violence against peaceful campaigners, to force Shell haulage through.

At around 10am yesterday, Eamon Murphy was driving through Glengad when he was met by a Shell convoy on the Glengad narrow road.  Mr Murphy refused to reverse for the Shell convoy, and Gardaí then threatened to smash the window of his car.  After about a 2 hours stand-off, Mr Murphy's car was towed away by local contractor TJ Carey.  Subsequently a campaigner climbed up on one of the Shell trucks.  Four Gardaí quickly climbed up on the truck and after assaulting the campaigner proceeded to pull the campaigner down from the Shell truck without any safety gear and with total disregard to health and safety procedure[1].  The campaigner was then detained and brought Belmullet Garda Station, where again he was assaulted inside the Garda Station by being thrown against doors inside the station while wearing handcuffs.   The Garda violence was led by Sgt Dermot Butler and Sgt Aidan Gill, both of whom have a long and violent past of dealing with Corrib protests.  Mysteriously then these two Gardaí attempted to plant a black electronic device on the campaigner.  Sgt. Butler was the Garda that John Monaghan alleged had made derogatory remarks of a sexual nature were made about his wife in 2006.[2,3]  Sgt Aidan Gill, who is head of the Protest Removal Team in the area, is the Garda who assaulted and pressure-pointed MEP Paul Murphy in August last year [4].  He has a number of assault complaints currently outstanding against him[5].

Sgt Dermot Butler & Sgt Aidan Gill assaulting a protestor on top of a truck

Speaking about the latest incidents of Garda violence, Shell to Sea spokesperson Terrence Conway said: “

In 2010, Frontline Human Rights Defenders recommended that Gardaí who have been involved in policing Corrib protests for long periods be redeployed. As with all the other Frontline recommendations this one was ignored.  We are again seeing that the most extreme violence is coming from the Gardaí who have been working alongside Shell for years now”.[6]

Wednesday of this week also saw Garda violence being visited on members of the local community after residents objected to Shell trucks using a road which hasn't been designated as a haul route for the project. 

Local resident Gerry O'Malley who was thrown into a ditch on Wednesday commented “A local farmer who was on his way to the bog, had the transport box taken off his tractor and had his tractor pushed off the road in order to make way for Shell cement trucks. Local residents were objecting to an unapproved route being used by Shell and being directed by the Gardai. Shell traffic was allowed to pass while local traffic was stopped."

Sgt Aidan Gill

For more information contact:  

Terence Conway:         086 0866264

Maura Harrington:        087 9591474!/ShellToSea


[1] Transcript of recording of Gardaí speaking about the procedure on safe protest removal techniques -

[2]Second abusive garda recording revealed - Brian McDonald – Belfast Telegraph

[3] 2006 audio recording of abusive garda by John Monaghan -

[4] How the Gardai assaulted me, and other peaceful protestors in Rossport – Paul Murphy MEP

[5] From Ogoniland to Erris – YouTube video – showing Sgt Aidan Gill using unnecessary violence on a peaceful protester -

[6] Frontline Report: "Breakdown in Trust: A Report on the Corrib Gas Dispute"

The Shell to Sea Campaign has three main aims:

1) That any exploitation of the Corrib gas field be done in a safe way that will not expose the local community in Erris to unnecessary health, safety and environmental risks.

2) To renegotiate the terms of the Great Oil and Gas Giveaway, which sees Ireland’s 10 billion barrels of oil equivalent* off the West Coast go directly to the oil companies, with the Irish State retaining a 0% share, no energy security of supply and only 25% tax on profits against which all costs can be deducted.

3) To seek justice for the human rights abuses suffered by Shell to Sea campaigners due to their opposition to Shell’s proposed inland refinery.

*This figure is based on the estimate, issued by the Department of Communications, Energy & Natural Resources (DCENR) in 2006, that the amount of recoverable oil and gas in the Rockall and Porcupine basins, off Ireland’s west coast, is 10 BBOE (billion barrels of oil equivalent). Based on the average price of a barrel of oil for 2010 of $79, this works out at $790 billion, or €580 billion. This does not take account of further oil and gas reserves off Ireland’s south & east coasts or inland. The total volume of oil and gas which rightfully belongs to Ireland could be significantly higher. Also, as the global price of oil rises in the coming years, the value of these Irish natural resources will rise further.