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News Release
Issued by Dublin Shell to Sea
Wednesday, October 10th, 2007


-- Mass sit-down blockade this Friday at Shell refinery site --

As campaigners from around Ireland prepare to travel to Mayo for a mass sit-down blockade at Shell's proposed refinery site at Bellanaboy this Friday morning (12th October), the Dublin Shell to Sea campaign has condemned the Garda "no-arrest" policy which has been in operation in the area for more than a year.

Dublin Shell to Sea activists will travel on several specially-organised buses from the capital on Thursday evening.

The campaign is highlighting a "no arrest policy" in relation to protests near the refinery site, a policy which has been in operation since a 15-month long blockade at the refinery gates was broken by gardai in early October 2006. The policy has resulted in ongoing violence against campaigners by gardai, who are under instruction to use physical force rather than powers of arrest.

On hundreds of occasions over the past 12 months, local people and supporters have obstructed traffic, have repeatedly failed to comply with directions given by gardai, have trespassed on Shell's refinery site and have broken the law in other ways as part of their tactic of civil disobedience. Despite this, almost nobody has been arrested charged with these offences.

The "no-arrest" policy is outlined by Supt Joe Gannon in the Garda Review (November 2006 issue): "There were no arrests. That was part of our strategy: we did not want to facilitate anyone down there with a route to martyrdom. That has been the policy ever since."

Supt Gannon has recently been transfered from Erris to Pearse St Garda Station in Dublin.

Caoimhe Kerins of Dublin Shell to Sea said: "Instead of arresting and prosecuting offenders as they are required to do under law, gardai have been beating, kicking and batoning people, breaking their fingers, throwing them into eight-foot-deep ditches and verbally abusing them."

"The question is: who authorised this 'no-arrest' policy and on what legal grounds can they justify it? Was it sanctioned by government? What we have here is an illegal by-passing of due process in order to force through a dangerous, experimental refinery and pipeline against the wishes of the local community."

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently deferred until November 28th its decision on whether to grant an integrated pollution prevention control (IPPC) licence for the proposed gas refinery.

"We're calling on people to help stop this unjust and environmentally destructive project before the actual building of the refinery begins," Caoimhe Kerins siad. "It's not too late."

Tickets for the buses from Dublin, which leave at 6.30pm on Thursday, are 30 euro return (or 25 euro for unwaged). Phone 085-1609850 for bus information.


* Caoimhe Kerins 087 7564750

* An Irish-speaking spokesperson is also available

Posted Date: 
12 October 2007 - 12:34am