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Shell to Sea backs MEP call for full investigation of Corrib Policing

News release - Issued by Shell to Sea - Friday, September 2nd, 2011

Shell to Sea today backed the call by Socialist Party MEP Paul Murphy for a full independent investigation into the policing of the Corrib Gas protests from 2006 to present. Yesterday MEP Paul Murphy made his complaint to the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commionsion (GSOC), but expressed a lack of confidence in view of their record to date.[1]

Shell to Sea and other members of the community have been calling for the abuses of Garda power in dealing with campaigners to be investigated fully since November 2006. The call was renewed earlier this year in the aftermath of the release of the recording of Gardaí speaking about raping campaigners.

Commenting on the assault of MEP Paul Murphy last week, Shell to Sea spokesperson Terence Conway stated “What we're seeing again with the assault on Paul Murphy is evidence that Gardaí in Mayo appear to have been given free rein to inflict pain without any fear of reprimand or punishment. Peaceful protest is being met with pre-mediated violence, and the Garda Ombudsman that was set-up to hold Gardaí to account has utterly failed”.

Earlier in the year GSOC rejected calls for an investigation into the policing of the Corrib saying that that number of complaints being received in relation to Corrib protests had declined significantly. Previously in 2007 GSOC sought permission to run an investigation into Corrib policing, but permission was denied by the then Minister for Justice.

Terence Conway continued “The reason many people have stopped putting in complaints to GSOC is that no Garda has ever been disciplined for any assault. In one instance, there was video evidence and five eye-witnesses to a Garda Superintendent repeatedly kicking a campaigner who was being held by other Gardaí. It would be very hard to get stronger evidence, but this case still went nowhere”

In a recent written complaint to GSOC about the conduct of their investigation into the Garda rape recording, Jerrie Ann Sullivan described the GSOC investigation as “aggressive”, “insensitive” and resulting in “the publication of a report which appears to deliberately confuse the public about the facts of the case”. Ms Sullivan said “The experience of making a complaint for me, turned into an experience of being bullied“.



[1] MEP lodges complaint over Corrib protest with Garda ombudsman -
Terence Conway 086 0866264
Maura Harrington 087 959 1474 

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.