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Shell's Security Guards Lose Control, Shell to Sea Campaigners Assaulted

category mayo | rights, freedoms and repression | news report author Thursday October 22, 2009 18:18author by Jen Debender - Rossport Solidarity Camp Report this post to the editors

IRMS is caught with their pants down two days running

Early this morning the 22 October, four Shell to Sea campaigners entered the field in Glengad where Shell is working (the same field where work was stopped by a digger-occupier yesterday- Two people managed to get on top of the same digger, but IRMS (Shell's private security contractors) got violent and dragged them down, injuring them both in the process.

Just after 8am this morning, four people entered the land where shell is working in Glengad next to the Glenamoy Bog Complex, a Special Area of Conservation (SAC). This followed an all night vigil kept by local residents parked outside the field blocking the entrance gate. The four campaigners who entered the field all got close to two machines, but two of them were immediately swarmed by IRMS and 'escorted' out the front gate of the field. The other two campaigners managed to get up on top of the of the digger, only 14 hours after the campaigner from yesterday had gotten down from the digger.

The 20-25 IRMS guards on the site were obviously embarrassed to be caught with their pants down two days in a row, and seemed determined not to let another day's work be halted by Shell to Sea. Their boss Jim Farrell was not there to calm them down or reign them in this time, and they lost it. In the early hours of the morning, without many witnesses or much daylight, IRMS behaviour was much more aggressive then the previous day.

One person had made it safely onto the digger arm, but was followed up by notorious IRMS villain Willie Moynihan. While other IRMS security guards held the campaigners' arms, Moynihangrabbed the person by the throat squeezing pressure points causing him to scream in agonising pain. The IRMS gang then pulled the campaigner off the digger and carried him off the site over a fence. Moynihan left a small scar and bruising on the person's neck. Grabbing necks and strangling seems a favorite type of violence for Willie Moynihan. He has used it repeatedly- on one occasion to a person on crutches (

Another person who had climbed up onto the cab of the digger was dragged down by an IRMS guard and had his knee bashed on the digger, causing him a serious amount of pain. After being assaulted at a dangerous height on top of the digger, both campaigners were carried out of the field in no gentle manner.

Both campaigners who were assaulted have since received medical attention, and complaints have been made to the Gardaí regarding the assaults. Serious concerns have been raised about IRMS conduct in relation to numerous protests in recent times, in particular with regard to the assault on Willie Corduff in May (

The driver who had blocked the entrance gate to the site had her car towed away later that morning when workers were trying to bring in fencing for the site.

Speaking about the incident, Maura Harrington said “The serious concerns of local people to the actions of security guards have not been sufficiently acted on, and these assaults are a direct result. IRMS are mercenaries acting with impunity, terrorising our community. Locals who oppose this project have every reason to fear for their safety with those thugs around.”

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author by Variouspublication date Thu Oct 22, 2009 18:28author address author phone Report this post to the editors

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author by variouspublication date Thu Oct 22, 2009 18:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

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author by mumsy vampire bearpublication date Thu Oct 22, 2009 20:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

hope all Shell to Sea people are OK after this unjustified attack

author by Damienpublication date Thu Oct 22, 2009 23:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Who are these thugs?

author by FSB!publication date Fri Oct 23, 2009 00:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Shell's thuggery in Aughoose lies in wait for the rest of Ireland to experience in future days at a struggle near where any citizen lives. The use of mercenaries by Shell in Mayo and MTL in Dublin (not to mention Irish Ferries almost 3 years ago) is a growing trend, and we are being sleepwalked into a corporate police state by a self-interested cabal of media, politics, business and security figures. Our only defences are vulnerable communities like that in Aughoose, and those who stand with them in solidarity. Thank you all for your bravery and steadfastness, and may your struggle be crowned with victory before long! Solidarity to you all!

author by Fred Johnstonpublication date Fri Oct 23, 2009 17:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I'm going to say something which I feel certain some at Shell to Sea will not like, but could someone please tell me what was precisely the purpose of getting up on top of the diggers and what response did you anticipate? A cup of tea? I think that actively engaging in activities which are bound to create physical reaction is not helpful. Has anyone yet got it together to reorganise the PR structure and strategy of the Shell to Sea campaign, as was at least considered some time back? Where is your PR strategy and your liaison person for the Press?

author by Damienpublication date Fri Oct 23, 2009 20:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Dear oh dear Fred. Our liaison officer for The Press? Well we were going to ask Gavin but Sir Tony wouldn't allow us, then we decided we would get Paul to write a Sunday Wurldldd Front Page Exposé on the criminals involved, i.e. IRMS and Shell, fresh off their conviction or payout at least, to the Ogoni people for murdering Sara-Wiwa and being generally bold in Nigeria. But we didn't realise Sir Paul's boss was Sir Tony, who controls 80something% of the Irish print media. I have contacted RTÉ and told them I'm unhappy about their blackout of the story, so far I've several replies saying that "Nationwide may be in a position to do a feature on it". So for the time being it's up to us to continue to climb on diggers.

author by Jed Ronsonpublication date Fri Oct 23, 2009 23:31author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It's a fair question- did anyone tell any photographers or radio stations or anyone in the media that was going to happen? Not everybody looks at indymedia, and if you're in the media, then as far as the public is concerned the event didn't happen.

Being side about the Indo isn't the end of the story (or it shouldn't be).

author by S2Spublication date Fri Oct 23, 2009 23:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Yes, there are constant media releases... media is not interested

author by Slick PR machinepublication date Sat Oct 24, 2009 11:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Yes, we send out press releases every time something significant happens... at least as many as we write indymedia articles. Like the previous comment stated, with the exception of a few individuals, big media is not interested.

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author by old codger - pensionerpublication date Sat Oct 24, 2009 15:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Fred Johnsons Views are correct in a normal society but the Erris people and indeed the whole of Ireland dont live in a normal society, we live in a totally corrupt country. A retiring judge also with the name Johnson has at last stated that most of the judiciary are corrupt. The Erris people have known this for quite some time. The Gardai are also corrupt as is the media, the council, the IRMS security company and their recruited criminal thugs. most of the state bodies are also corrupt because they are under the controll of the people that created all this corruption in the first place Fianna Fail and our fine upstanding politicians.
The SHell TO SEA campaign have been risking their lives for years hoping that the Irish people would wake up and do something about it but to no avail. So they will just carry on unless the people take up the fight with the true cause of all this nations troubles the corrupt FIANNA FAIL SCUMBAGS.
Keep up the fight folks because you stand for truth and justice, something that Ireland knows very little about.

author by míol mórpublication date Sat Oct 24, 2009 17:12author address author phone Report this post to the editors

So often I can hear the question - "what reaction do you expect?"

In my opinion the point is that whatever justification there is or is not for occupying diggers (in this case the reason was to stop illegal work, it seems like it is really only way how to go about it in Mayo, a formal complaint to the Gardaí was ignored and members of Gardaí continued to facilite Shell`s work no matter what, and it has been the case for number of years...)
it doesn`t give justification to anyone (in this case member of security) to physicaly assault and endanger life of person who decides to do so.

Private security is employed for purposes of guarding and protecting private property, there are certain very specific rules about what they can and what they can not do.
I`m not an expert on it, but I`m sure that it is not within their rights to kill someone or physicaly attack anyone. The man who attacked campaigner on the arm of the digger is trained in combat, and knew that the pressure point he used can be mortal and was causing excrutiating pain. His aim was not to protect the digger; the campaigner did not have any way of damaging it. Willie Rankin was angry and wanted to harm campaigner and intimidate him. (same campaigner was on the digger for 6 hours days before)

I think it is important to keep reminding ourselves that force, violence and intimidation imposed by the state or a corporation should not be justified by the fact that it is common.

author by Damienpublication date Sat Oct 24, 2009 19:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Cheers for the support Old Codger. It never ceases to amaze me day in and day out all these clever boyos who tiurn around and tell us to "use the media", and that climbing on diggers and other forms of MNCD are worthless. To counteract the other point and ram 'our' opinion home again-most of the media re not interested. The editor of Mayo news has now gone to work with Shell as their chief communications adviser or something to that effect. So climb down out of your ivory tower and live in the real world.

author by xpublication date Sun Nov 01, 2009 13:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

THE GARDA Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) will discuss policing issues relating to the Corrib gas project at the Government’s community forum for development in northwest Mayo early next week.

GSOC head of communications and research Kieran FitzGerald will attend the forum, convened at the Corran Buí health centre in Erris by Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Éamon Ó Cuív and Minister for Energy Eamon Ryan.

Mr FitzGerald has also agreed to attend a People’s Forum in Belmullet at the invitation of Shell to Sea. The GSOC has been handling a number of complaints about policing related to the Corrib gas project in Erris since work resumed on the Corrib gas refinery in October 2006....

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