Garda tells campaigner, “I have your last breath in my hands”
At approximately 7pm last night a number of Shell to Sea campaigners entered the water in Broadhaven Bay in kayaks and rafts in a peaceful attempt to prevent Shell from bringing in a borehole drilling platform. They were met with 5 Garda water unit boats, with approximately 16 Gardaí on board.
Campaigners attempted to approach the platform but were prevented from doing so by Gardaí who overturned their kayaks.
One of the campaigners, Eoin Lawless managed to get close to the platform. When Gardaí overturned his kayak, he swam under the platform. A Garda then jumped into the water after him, and without giving any instruction proceeded to drag him from the water into the near by Garda boat.
Mr. Lawless said, “I had told Gardaí that I would leave the area but I was dragged from the water and they proceeded to kneel on my back. I was not informed whether I was under arrest or why I was being manhandled. One Garda then pinched my throat with his two fingers and cut off my air supply. He was obviously trained in how to do it. He held me like that for about 90 seconds, allowing me to take one or two gasps. He kept saying into my ear that he had my last breath in his hands.”
“It was terrifying. I truly believed he might kill me. We need human rights observers to come back down to Mayo as a matter of urgency**” said Mr. Lawless.
Mr. Lawless received medical attention at Belmullet Garda station last night.
Shell plan to drill up to 80 boreholes to survey the Sruth Fhada Chonn estuary for it’s proposed raw gas pipeline. The boreholes are to provide a survey of the estuary to determine the final plans for the tunnel Shell plans to build under the estuary linking up the offshore pipeline with the proposed inland refinery. The new route is still within 250m of several houses and the local community remains opposed to the plans. The estuary is a Specially Protected Area & part of the Broadhaven Bay Special Area of Conservation. The operation will damage parts of the estuary & disturb the wildlife there, particularly Atlantic salmon, otters & birds found on the intertidal areas.
Shell to Sea plan to try to stop Shell from drilling the boreholes over the next few months through a campaign of peaceful protest.
For further information or verification please contact: Shell to Sea
NOTES TO EDITORS
Shell to Sea is a national campaign with active groups based across Ireland. The Shell to Sea campaign has three main aims. 1) To have the Corrib gas field exploited 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, issued by the Department of Communications, Energy & Natural Resources (DCENR) in 2006, estimates the amount of gas and oil in the Rockall and Porcupine basins, off Ireland ’s west coast, to be 10 BBOE (billion barrels of oil equivalent). Based on the average price of a barrel of oil for June 2010 at $75.34 or €59.61, this works out at a value of €596 billion. This does not take account of further oil and gas reserves off Ireland ’s south coast 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.
** Frontline report: 'Breakdown in Trust': http://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/ 2474 (see p.51)