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Spirit of Contradiction >>
Gardaí assault Shell to Sea campaigners.
rights, freedoms and repression |
Wednesday April 06, 2011 00:20 by Shell to Sea
“Push them back lads, and push them back hard!” – Sergeant Murphy MY13
A woman was seeking medical attention in Belmullet yesterday after a Garda punched her in the stomach outside a Shell compound in Co. Mayo. The assault occurred as Gardaí were forcing a protest off the public road in front of the work site.
The protest began at about 1pm when 8 Shell to Sea campaigners gathered at the side of a public road to block the haulage of material to newly erected Shell site at Aghoos Co. Mayo.
At the beginning of the protest, work on the site stopped and the roadside entrance was chained closed by security personnel.
Gardaí soon arrived under charge of Sergeant Murphy MY13. After about 40 minutes work had restarted inside the compound. A trailer of bog mats had been unloaded and when the tractor was ready to exit the site Jim Farrell - head of Shell security in Mayo - called Sergeant Murphy to the gate and spoke to him.
Soon after Sergeant Murphy ordered the protestors to leave under section 8 of the Public Order Act. In a matter of seconds he and about 20 Gardaí began to move the protest by force. The protestors linked arms and sat down in front of the Shell gate.
The Gardaí pulled the protestors by the arms and legs and dragged or carried them along the road to the ditch. The protestors resisted passively and many managed to get back to their positions by running around the Gardaí.
The Gardaí forcefully removed most of the protestors again to one side of the Shell gates. One protestor ran back along the ditch but was grabbed and thrown to the ground by a Garda, kneeled on, and punched. Another Garda came from behind and kicked him.
Sergeant Murphy issued the order to: “Push them back lads, and push them back hard!”
The Gardai then formed a cordon across the road and cleared the protestors to one side of it blocking access along the road towards to Shell compound entrance.
One protestor went around the side of one of the Garda vans to get past the cordon, but Garda MY259 came around the side of the van and punched her in the stomach. The woman screamed and lay on the side of the road badly winded. The assault was reported immediately to Sergeant Murphy but was ignored.
The campaigners continued to try to walk up the road for another half an hour but were met with persistent force from the Gardai. Outnumbered by Gardai and brutalised, the protestors met and decided to end the protest.
One of the assault victims recieved medical attention in Belmullet but is now at home resting.
Spokeperson for Shell to Sea Terrence Conway stated: The Garda violence today is no aberration: it has been the main tool used by Shell and the state in trying to force this project on a community that has given no consent.
He continued: Despite years of Garda abuse and harassment this community will never give in.
Details of Shell’s proposed work schedule:
FOR VERIFICATION AND COMMENT – CONTACT:
Terence Conway 086 0866264
Maura Harrington 087 9591474
NOTE 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 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.
2) To have the Corrib gas field exploited in a safe way that will not expose the local community in Erris to unnecessary environmental, health and safety risks.
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 gas and oil 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 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.