Skip to main content

News Release: Busted - Shell bribe cops with booze

News release - Issued by Shell to Sea - Monday 12th August 2013

-- Shell accused of bribing Gardaí and pressuring sub-contractor into withdrawing evidence --


It has been revealed by a former Shell subcontractor, OSSL, that they provided €35,000 worth of alcohol to the Gardaí in Christmas 2007. [1] 
In a separate incident OSSL also revealed that former Shell Ireland CEO, Terry Nolan, pressured OSSL manager Neil Rooney to change his statement to the Office of the Garda Ombudsman who were investigating an attack by the Gardaí on campaigners at Pollathomais pier which resulted in 20 people being injured.  [2,3,4] Mr Rooney stated that on the 11th June 2007,  Supt. Joe Gannon had told him before the attack  "I'm going to drive these fuckers into the sea".  OSSL claim that Mr Rooney was pressured by Terry Nolan to remove this quote from his final statement, telling him that "our man" (Supt. Joe Gannon) "had to be protected at all costs". [5]
OSSL claim that when Mr Rooney refused to alter his statement to the Ombudsman that Shell then began to freeze them out of work on the Corrib project and thus began the long-running dispute between them.

OSSL, a Glasgow based company, had been contracted as a" Mr Fix-it" for Shell since 2002, initially procuring materials and services for Shell employees in north Mayo but over time their role expanded and increasingly they were tasked with providing gifts to local supporters of the project and for the Gardaí.
The Observer which broke the story stated:
"It [OSSL] was tasked to provide "a tennis court, cookers, television sets, agricultural equipment, school fees, home improvements, garden centre visits, forestry equipment", says Rooney – for local residents. He says that he and Kane found themselves paying workmen to do one thing, then invoicing Shell for something else, and often administering "accommodation services" themselves."[1]

OSSL claim that they deposited two-thirds of €35,000 worth of alcohol to Belmullet Garda station. Superintendent John Gilligan is quoted as having said "It's lucky these walls are high" while helping to unload the alcohol.  OSSL claim that "using an unmarked vehicle" they delivered the remaining third of the alcohol "to Athlone town and meet on the Athlone by-pass" with Garda Liam Grimes of the sub aqua division of An Garda Siochana, the same unit which were responsible for detaining and arresting Pat O'Donnell and his son Jonathan on their boats in 2008, as seen in the film The Pipe. [6]

Noting that the alcohol was brought in from Northern Ireland, Shell to Sea spokesperson Maura Harrington stated "It seems that Shell are intent to pay absolutely no tax in the State whatsoever, as  even this alcohol was smuggled across the border.  As well as the issue of alcohol-fueled police violence in the Shell/Corrib project, this raises serious issues for the auditors of Shell E&P Ireland, Royal Dutch Shell and their respective regulatory bodies".

Since March 2013, two Garda Superintendents and 3 Sergeants have been publicly named by OSSL and it's incredible that these individuals have done nothing to defend their good name, if OSSL's allegations weren't true. [5,6]

Shell to Sea spokesperson Terence Conway stated "Shell to Sea are calling for a fully independent international inquiry, because we believe that all regulatory, monitoring and enforcement agencies within the State have been subverted by Shell".

Last year, UN Human Rights Defenders Special Rapporteur Mrs Sekaggya recommended to "Investigate all allegations and reports of intimidation, harassment and surveillance in the context of the Corrib Gas dispute in a prompt and impartial manner".  However this recommendation has been ignored to date.[7]


[1] Strange tale of Shell's pipeline battle, the Garda and £30,000 worth of booze - Ed Vulliamy - The Observer

[2] Face off in Pollathomais: a report on the last two days events - Indymedia

[3] YouTube Video of Pollathomais Pier incident

[4] Shell apologises for landowner's distress - Lorna Siggins - Irish Times

[5] Shell’s man inside the Garda: Superintendent Joe Gannon -  -

[6] Shell Accused of Corrupting Irish Police Force -

[7] UN  Special Rapporteur calls for full investigation of Corrib Human Rights issues

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.