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NGO Report Slams Garda Abuse in Mayo

category national | rights, freedoms and repression | feature author Tuesday July 10, 2007 02:23author by email improvemyself at hotmail dot com Report this post to the editors

Immediate Intervention Called For

featured image
The friendly arm of the law

A recent independent report by a delegation of international human rights and environmental activists has slammed the actions of the Gardai in Mayo for suppressing peaceful protest and creating civil unrest.

The report, issued by the Global Community Monitor (GCM), was compiled from evidence gathered at a public hearing as well as through interviews, emails and video footage. It does not, however, take a position in relation to the construction of Shell’s pipeline.

Related Links: GCM Report | Reclaiming the Streets: Garda Review on the Ballinaboy Protests | Indymedia Rossport Archive | Shell to Sea | Rossport Solidarity Camp |

Members of the Shell To Sea group, gardai and the media were consulted in the investigative process but requests for a meeting with Mayo county council and Belmullet’s Garda superintendent were rejected. Responding to the report in the local media Tony McNamara, Garda Chief Superintendent of the Mayo Division, claimed the report was “totally biased”.

The report finds that the behaviour of the gardai in Mayo is endangering the safety of people participating in non-violent protests as well as consistently infringing on their civil rights and recommends immediate intervention by human rights organisations.

“The situation in County Mayo arising from the Royal Dutch Shell pipeline and on-shore refinery has already resulted in serious injury, loss of trust in the rule of law and the Gardai and disruption to the culture and values of the area.”

“No outside intervention by the European Union or World Human Rights protection entities has occurred to remedy the situation. This lack of action and appropriate response threatens to create an even more explosive situation.”

Amongst the concerns raised in the report is the harassment of local opponents to Shell’s project in public places including their homes and at public talks. The report also states that there is evidence of gardai verbally threatening people with phrases like; ‘I have you, your time is up,’ and ‘stand up and you will be beaten down’.

There were also accusations of intimidation made against the protesters but GCM were not provided with any evidence to back up such claims. Garda intimidation was backed up by evidence which included eye-witness reports, photos and video footage. Gardai, including senior ranking members, were found to have used excessive force and failed to give proper warning of attacks.

The report finds that the situation in Mayo is causing people who are not aligned with either side of the dispute to lose faith in the Gardai and the government. A local landowner stated that he has “lost respect for the Gardai after the violence around the Shell facility.” Lack of adequate accountability is highlighted;

“People in the community have submitted complaints to the necessary authorities with regard to the issues they have with the police in how they are dealing with people protesting and the public in general.”

“To our knowledge none of these cases have been taken forward. Thus people have lost faith in the system, and have stopped submitting complaints. One of the complaints was sent to Dublin, yet after three and a half months there has been no response”

Global Community Monitor is an NGO which works with communities across the globe facing environmental and human rights problems. Their stated role is to “hold major corporations accountable in the U.S and throughout the world. Through GCM, local community struggles are linked and their efforts multiplied”.
Their delegation consisted of 3 members of Friends of the Earth and two human rights activists and did not involve investigating the safety or suitability of the Corrib Gas project.

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author by dont insult my intelligencepublication date Tue Jul 10, 2007 12:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

what a complete load of twaddle

look at this organisation and how they describe themselves

"Global Community Monitor (GCM) is an environmental justice and human rights non profit that empowers industrial communities to recreate a clean healthy and truly sustainable environment"

(1) They are an environmental organisation so dont be surprised that they are against Shell

(2) The post reads that they didnt analyse the safety or sustainability of the Shell project -LOOK AT THEIR WEBSITE!!!!!!!!!!! The have an entire section entitled "SHELL FACTS" and it plainly obvious that they are an organisation who are against the Shell corporation

Calling this group an independent human rights NGO is nonsense they have a politial agenda against the Shell group so stop insulting our intelligence by trying to paint something a colour its not

author by w.publication date Tue Jul 10, 2007 12:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The group is an NGO that works with communities suffering environmental and human rights abuses, of course they're going to have come across shell before. Their report is worth paying attention to because they call for intervention from other rights groups.

Human rights watchdogs criticise handling of Corrib protests

Garda Chief rejects damning US report on Corrib policing

author by chrissiepublication date Tue Jul 10, 2007 20:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Having witnessed the behaviour of Gardai at Bellanaboy & Pollatomish, I can only agree with this description. There is a serious issue of abuse of Human Rights now in Ireland, the 'sort of thing' that we expect in the worst Asian & African countries. Go, see what's happening to your country!

author by bewilderedpublication date Tue Jul 10, 2007 20:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

If people took the time to actually read the Testimony's that GMC heard, they would understand why they came to the conclucion they came to.

Not the correct conclucion, because unfortunatley they were niave eneough to beleive what they were told by S2S.
see for proof that they were mis-led and lied to.
So this report is basically a waste of time as it comes to a finding based on mis-information!

to check out the testimony's for yourself see here and deciede

author by bjpublication date Tue Jul 10, 2007 23:07author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Glad to see this being covered by Indymedia. The world deserves to see where Ireland is going under FF rule. Minister Lenihan and the govt. (including the Greens) now have serious questions to answer.

The streets of Mayo are empty of guards because so many of them are in Rossport on 1500 a week

What is being done today in Mayo will be done tomorrow in the midlands when the water pipeline is
being laid from the Shannon to Dublin.

Its time to shout Stop!

author by d.harrypublication date Wed Jul 11, 2007 12:40author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"recommends immediate intervention by human rights organisations"

Just which are these human rights organisations that might intervene?
Amnesty International refuses to involve itself in Irish affairs (thats rich).
The Irish Council for Civil Liberties has lost its voice. The UN is partly controlled by the oil industry.

May I suggest that people contact 'Realizing Rights' founded by N. Mayo native, Mary Robinson -

"Our mission is to put human rights standards at the heart of global governance and policy-making and
to ensure that the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable are addressed on the global stage.....and
influencing corporate social responsibility. "

Realizing Rights: The Ethical Globalization Initiative Headquarters
271 Madison Avenue, Suite 1007
New York, NY 10016
T: +212-895-8080
F: +212-895-8084

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author by cool jpublication date Thu Jul 12, 2007 00:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

After yesterdays high farce in Belmullet court , it now appears you can be put in prison for being on the receiving end of some state thuggery. Honestly Erris is well on the way to turning into anolther Niger delta.

author by GOSIMEONpublication date Thu Jul 12, 2007 12:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Having looked into the report and also the authors, it is clear that this is just as reliable as reading Shell's newsletter and taking it as gospel truth. Using things like this in arguments just makes your case suffer further - they authors are clearly biased.

author by Jackpublication date Thu Jul 12, 2007 13:15author address author phone Report this post to the editors

GOSIMEON - please explain (if you can) why you think the gcm report is biased.
Is it because gcm has a history of criticising Shell? Perhaps that is because Shell
has such a lousy history of contempt for communities and for the environment.
Explain yourself!

author by dont insult my intelligencepublication date Thu Jul 12, 2007 13:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Jack this so called NGO is not independent they are a campaigning organisation that deliberately target Shell and are open to the accusation that they will manipulate events to suit their own agenda.

Take an organisation like Amnesty International who are an indeoendent NGO campaiging for human rights - while they rightly criticise Israel for its human rights abuses in occupied Palestine they also rightly criticise Palestinians for their terrorist outrages, the same is applied to the Basque country and other conflicts. The key for AI is respect for human rights and not turning a blind eye to one side or the other

This group are committeed anti shell campaigners therefore they are not independent

author by Jackpublication date Thu Jul 12, 2007 14:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

'dont insult my intelligence' - saying it doesn't make it true.

I asked why you think the gcm report is biased. Saying that it is because GCM is anti-Shell
is not an explanation of bias. You'll have to do a little better than that.

As far as I'm concerned anybody who doesn't find serious fault with Shell is either in their pay,
willfully blind or of limited intelligence.

I'll ask again - why you think the gcm report is biased?

author by humble type who doesn't appreciate the almond centrespublication date Sat Jul 14, 2007 14:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Sometimes they lie you see. Sometimes it's all a clever foil so that people don't feel patronised. You know the "down to earth" feeling you get once you've done your milktray rounds and feel solid feet under your feet and can whip off the black combat suit & leave the rope hanging there as a regrettable expense & bit of evidence of your generosity. Because Donal there is an NGO which effectively is called "we love everything Shell does", it's called the Shell PR department & though it shares offices with Shell in the Royal Dutch Shell building on Albert embankment London, and even though it shares staff with Shell PLC it is an independent entity who will send any kid (from primary level up be they potential psychopaths or victim worker types) a set of posters explaining hydrocarbon resource exploration, exploitation etc.,
Most universities anywhere are shite by the way, they became such within twenty years of the last world war when they ceased to serve their function of maintaining a rigid class system and then made their last ditch effort to be relevant by acception the ochlarchs who wanted a bit of parchment on their wall. Unless you can put your hand where your pacemaker will be (or is) & swear on all that is equitable that you've spent time at one of the ten "top universities" in the world, I'd suggest you keep your condescention to yourself. We have never defined citizen journalism or independent media in the terms of or criteria of an academic subject which has not existed longer than 50 years, nor for that matter a dismal profession which only came into being 120 years ago. Indeed if you bother to make academic comparisons there are more courses offered by 3rd level educational "shops" in cosmetology than journalism. (cosmetology is the posh academic word for manicure & sundry other tasks hag by the way). Yet we have not yet seen anyone take a chair (as posh speak describes the top university jobs) on either bikini waxing or cut and pasting of reuters news updates. But I reckon the wrinkle correction will get their first.

so at end you're qualified to be one of us. no horrible putting on weight, learning to spell, standing five years on the sidelines of junior rugby matches or paying years to an education shop. That much said there are some fields of human endevour where universities are useful - medicine & theoretical quantum phsyics pop to mind. If we didn't have such courses the boys and girls who do that would have to clean their own toilets (& probably do it badly) and being prone to catch nasty infections and we all agree that would be most unfair.

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author by Gosimeopublication date Sun Jul 15, 2007 13:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I can't get over how some of you choose to believe these guys are in any way balanced. If you base your arguments re: Shell and the Corrib on these guy's information then that is insane.

They even have a website, They have a campaign running against Shell. They have a book out criticising Shell.

So cop on and face it, these guys are set against Shell. I'm not saying Shell are angels by any means. However, these people are not balanced at all and using their "report" to justify any point is plain stupid.

author by frankpublication date Sun Jul 15, 2007 15:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Let's choose another well-known NGO, for example, GOAL: a body which, I'm sure you will agree
does stalwart work on behalf of the poor and disenfranchised. Now Goal, has always been to the forefront in criticising governments and organisations which it believes have operated to the detriment of the poor.
By your logic GOSIMEO, if Goal bring out a report criticising , say, the U.N, for something or other, then that report cannot be taken seriously because GOAL has previously criticised the UN and therfore has an 'agenda'. Do you see how daft that is.

You are attempting to muddy the water by diverting attention from the contents of the report to the report's authors. NOWHERE have you even attempted to address the contents. You attempt to smear everyone and everything with the paintbrush of 'agenda'

Let us see you attempt to address the issues, if you dare. Let us see you label all of the report's contributors as liars. I doubt whether you have even read the report.

author by Sarah - S2spublication date Sun Jul 15, 2007 15:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Seeing as how you're happy that amnesty are respected and unbiased I suggest that you look up a document called 'human rights and oil'on the amnesty website. Shell PDC Nigeria (and Chevron)is roundly criticised as are their motherships in our happy western democracies. Also it should be noted that Amnesty frequently quotes Friends of the Earth groups reasearch.

author by get realpublication date Sun Jul 15, 2007 16:31author address author phone Report this post to the editors

frank says "You are attempting to muddy the water by diverting attention from the contents of the report to the report's authors. NOWHERE have you even attempted to address the contents"
well frank lets go one better, let us address the stories the GMC based their findings on!
the only story that we know for sure whether it is factual or NOT is the one spun by that great science teacher Ed Moran.
I have included an exert from it below
the entire stories can be found here
Mr Morans story is pages 51-61

"Against that kind of background I would like to mention a few particular
incidents that did occur. There was the incident regarding Maura Harrington, where
she was literally thrown to the ground. I happened to be a little distant from the
incident as it happened but I was close enough to see the general picture, and when I
watched it on television afterwards, on the RTE report, it was quite clear from that
picture – and that picture is available - that she was literally thrown to the ground.
As she lay prostrate on the ground nobody was doing very much by way of getting
any aid for her. An ambulance in the employ of Shell came by. I was between the
ambulance and Maura, in other words there was no more than 10 feet between the
ambulance and Maura lying on the ground. The ambulance seemed to look and see
they could clearly see somebody was lying on the ground. The Gardai waved
them on, the Gardai did not ask them to help, the Gardai waved them on and they
went on. I was shocked and horrified later to find that that was actually a Red Cross
ambulance and that a Red Cross ambulance had seen somebody lying on the ground
yet had been directed by the Gardai to go on.
I was shocked and horrified to find that a Red Cross ambulance was actually in
the employ of Shell."

But as the entire country known (including Ed Moran) it was ms harrington who refused to allow the redcross to help her and she demanded an ambulace from the hse.

author by frankpublication date Sun Jul 15, 2007 18:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Get Real -

Ed Moran says "I happened to be a little distant from the incident as it happened"
He gives his impression of events, not the impression or words of Ms. Harrington. He tells the truth as it occurred to him. The GCM investigators are well aware that his version is HIS IMPRESSION OF EVENTS. To accuse EM of lying or exaggeration is very disingenuous.

Before issuing their report the GCM investigators were as aware as you and I are now, that EM simply told his story.

You're clutching at straws. You'll have to do a lot better than that to even come close to discrediting this report. I have to wonder at your motivation.

author by get realpublication date Sun Jul 15, 2007 18:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

thank you frank for proving my point.
GMC swallowed hook-line-and sinker every bit of hype they were told.
"To accuse EM of lying or exaggeration is very disingenuous"
not disingenuous at all, he would have to have been in a coma not to have witnessed the media coverage of mauras refusal to be treated/transported in "shells ambulance".
in fact on joe duffy's radio show she and another S2S person states they would rather die that use that ambulance.
so for ED to claim it was the garda's fault is a blatent LIE.
"He tells the truth as it occurred to him." is that supposed to make the lie true?
I dont know where your from frank but please inform yourself before making excuses for the undefenseable!

author by frankpublication date Mon Jul 16, 2007 01:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"he would have to have been in a coma not to have witnessed the media coverage of mauras refusal to be treated/transported in "shells ambulance".
Exactly! And the GCM investigators were also well aware of events (unless you think they were in a coma) and yet they prepared the Report. So we can presume they had a little more to go on, like the evidence of all the other witnesses, video footage and even a statement from the gardaí themselves re.
not being prepared to arrest anybody and make 'martyrs' of them.

Even leaving aside the evidence of EM there is a hell of a lot more in the Report. You have picked what you believe is an 'Achilles' Heel' but can't you see that the report is based on a lot more than the evidence of one man. Finding what you believe is a flaw (its not) does not discredit the Report.

Perhaps you would care to broaden you criticisms because this EM thing is going nowhere.

author by Man Thrown down the Drain - Shelltoseapublication date Tue Jul 17, 2007 16:10author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Hello Arachne I am the man thrown down the drain and would like to make contact with you so we'll have to try Indymedia for it's the only comunication point I have at this time to find you, so if you read this please lets get in contact,Thank you for your concern . My name is Ed Collins, Pullathomas, Ballina, Co Mayo.

author by Privatisationpublication date Tue Jul 17, 2007 18:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Water Charges for Farmers now, another F/G policy...Mayo again hit hardest..
What next........Fresh air""""

author by x tractpublication date Mon Jul 30, 2007 23:07author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I wouldn't like to be depending on Kenny Lite to represent my interests. After all he thinks a taoiseach
who takes dig-outs from 'friends' is fit for office. (That's WRONG Enda, not LEFT.. let's try again.....)

Glad to see the EU is starting to take an interest in matters.
Kenny, Ring and co. will yet have serious egg on face for selling out their own people..

author by ... me againpublication date Tue Jul 31, 2007 08:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

(Glad to see the EU is starting to take an interest in matters. )
didnt make much difference to tara!
ift he refinery was to be halted now the irish goverment would be sued for billions by shell, as it was they who gave permission..

author by think againpublication date Tue Jul 31, 2007 15:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The idea that the State HAS to allow the completion of the refinery for fear of being sued by Shell is nonsense. Ask yourself - were the Russians sued over Sakhalin 2?

If the Irish Government wanted to, it could draw attention to Shell's poor track record with record to health and safety, environmental degradation, and community relations, and declare that the contract was void, and ask for it to be re-negotiated.

It's possible, even easy.

A new agreement to refine the gas offshore could even be subsidised by a "windfall" tax on the Corrib profits.

Political will is alll that is necessary...

author by toothlesspublication date Tue Jul 31, 2007 16:27author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"The Petitions Committee of the European Parliament may seek to cooperate with national or local authorities in Member States to resolve an issue raised by a petitioner.

It cannot, however, override decisions taken by competent authorities within Member States. As the European Parliament is not a judicial authority, it can neither pass judgement on, nor revoke decisions taken by, the Courts of law in Member States. Petitions seeking such courses of action are inadmissible."

So what effect will this Petition have on the corrib project? at best you might hope to have Irish taxpayers fined for breaches of EU directives. but not a halt to the project.

author by chrissiepublication date Sat Aug 04, 2007 10:31author address author phone Report this post to the editors

August 25th Day of Support at Bellanaboy - please get there - see www.corribsos for details

author by jpublication date Sat Aug 04, 2007 22:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Aug. 25th - the Fleadh is on in Tullamore - not great timing.

author by Sharon . - Individual .publication date Sun Aug 05, 2007 01:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Hi !

Those of us that are available to travel will be in Donegal on that Saturday (August 25) [] : however , with the length of notice afforded we may be able to organise a few people to attend .

Thanks !


SHELL : we hope the 'natural gas' will burn yer arse and blow ya all to HELL !
SHELL : we hope the 'natural gas' will burn yer arse and blow ya all to HELL !

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