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Complaints against 20 Gardaí in Corrib row
BY DANIEL HICKEYGARDA Complaints Board has confirmed that three senior officers are investigating a series of complaints about Garda behaviour during protests against the Shell Corrib gas refinery at Bellanaboy.Sixteen complaints filed by 15 individuals are being investigated in relation to alleged incidents involving over 20 gardaí, most of which are said to have occurred late last year.The majority of the complaints are being handled by Det Supt Michael Jackson, but Garda Commissioner Noel Conroy has appointed Chief Supt Paul Hargadon of Garda Headquarters and Chief Supt Gerry Mahon, head of the Clare division, to investigate two complaints that relate to Supt Joe Gannon of Belmullet Garda station.Supt Gannon has overseen security for Shell staff and contractors since work resumed at the Corrib gas refinery last October.During one of the most serious clashes between gardaí and protestors last November, eight people, including four gardaí, were injured. Summonses were recently issued against three Erris residents, and gardaí in Mayo have said further summonses are pending.The Garda Ombudsman Commission is due to begin work tomorrow (May 9th), but the Garda Complaints Board is continuing to handle up to 500 complaints currently on its books including 38 tribunals. The 16 complaints relating to north Mayo could take over a year to reach referral to board level.Meanwhile, members of the Shell to Sea campaign have questioned the independence of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), who are currently holding an oral hearing into the granting of an Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) licence for the proposed gas refinery at Bellanaboy.Eve Campbell, from the Rossport Solidarity Camp, said that the president of the EPA, Dr Mary Kelly, appeared in an early promotional video for the Corrib gas project in the capacity of an IBEC representative. The video was made during the Enterprise Energy era of the project in 2002.“People are very concerned as to the independance of the EPA given this fact,” said Ms Campbell.“It echoes a similar incident that occured in 2004 when the Green Party called for the resignation of newly appointed Laura Burke, who had previously worked as a project manager on incinerator projects for Indaver,” she added.Ms Campbell also described a 2006 report, Cost Effective Field Development Study for Atlantic Ireland Basins, by the Department of Marine and Natural Resources’ petroleum affairs division.This report is “confirmation of the government’s plans for more refineries at Bellanaboy”, she said.The report details the potential expansion of the refinery to facilitate a number of fields in the Slyne-ErrisDonegal basin gas/ condensate fields.Ms Campbell said it seems that Bellanaboy has been “designated as a refining zone similar to that of St Fergus in Scotland, albeit in an informal way.”The current Shell site at Bellanaboy is approximately 407 acres in area and the proposed refinery is approximately 32 acres in area.“Instead of having an overall evaluation of the suitability of the site for such a development, they intend to build one refinery then another, and another using the first refinery as the basis for the building of subsequent facilities. This is planning by stealth,” she said.The hearing resumes tomorrow (Wednesday).

Posted Date: 
9 May 2007 - 8:44pm