"The Government have clearly sent the message to Shell, ‘you can do whatever you want’. Fortunately due to protest, the refinery remains unconnected to the gas field. If, as Shell planned, gas had been flowing by now, we would potentially all be dealing with a gas leak and explosion.”
Peat haulage stopped by protesters during a day of solidarity on friday the 13th of January. The action took place at a Bord na Mona owned site at Shramore, which Shell are using as a dumping ground
IRMS Shell security, occupying the State owned site yet again, demonstrated their lack of concern for health and safety. Outside police pushed protesters off the road, while one halted lorry driver expressed his intentions to police that he would clear the road by driving into protestors. Later spirits were high as police did not even attempt to clear the road when over 15 protesters lay down to block a lorry, which had to be diverted. Later the police returned and used brute force to push people off the road. They hospitalized one protester.
At 8am on the 13th of January, 30 protesters arrived at the Bord Na Mona owned site in shramore. This site is being used to dump excavated peat from the tunnel boring compound in Aughoose. There have been an estimated 206 truck movements per day this month hauling peat and gravel between these two sites.
Protesters entered the site, some were immediately tackled to the ground and evicted through a hole in the fence. A group made it's way towards the compound but about five were jumped on by IRMS, some illegally searched and one camera and a coat was stolen. Soon the police arrived onsite and the group were escorted out by police and IRMS.
Throughout the day groups of protesters spread out throughout the site halting any onsite work, while outside protesters stopped trucks from entering the site. Gardai and IRMS worked together to remove protesters obstructing trucks. On several incidents drivers refused to stop the vehicles when blocked by protesters. One protester was unlawfully arrested while blocking a truck. He received no warnings and when asked what law the Gardai were arresting him under no reply was given. He was later charged at Belmullet Garda station.
By 1pm workers began a limited amount of work transporting peat across the site. A group entered the back of the site to halt the work. However when they tried to stop work, peat was unloaded into a ditch one protester was standing in.
Out on the road protesters formed a huge lie down halting a truck.The gardai didn't even attempt to remove the protesters and the truck was diverted.
A short time later they returned when protesters stopped another truck. This time they aggressively shoved protesters into the ditch. One protester was dropped by the gardai onto a rock on the verge of the road seriously injuring his spine and leg.
Police immediately fled the scene of the accident not even calling an ambulance. The injured protester had to wait two hours for an ambulance to arrive. During this time gardai returned to clear the road again, shoving people dangerously close to the casualty. An ambulance arrived around 5pm and took the protester to Castlebar hospital. He was let out later that night with a diagnosis of spinal tissue and nerve damage. Two days later he still has not regained feeling in his left leg.
Work was successfully shut inside the Shramore site and haulage was halted for the day. When Protesters took to the road on Saturday all haulage was also halted for the day.