"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.”
SHELL to Sea activists have rejected accusations made by the Justice Minister Alan Shatter that campaigners had ‘exploited’ the controversial rape comments made by gardaí. The comments were caught on a tape inadvertently recorded in a garda jeep after two female Corrib gas protestors were arrested.
Speaking at the Garda Representative Association conference in Westport on Wednesday, Minister Shatter criticised some Corrib protesters, claiming they ‘exploited’ the controversy for their ‘own political ends’ and rejected calls for an international inquiry into the policing of the Corrib gas project.
Dublin Shell to Sea spokesperson Caoimhe Kerrins criticised the Ministers comments claiming that ‘several international human rights organisations have been highly critical of policing of the Corrib Gas project’. She said these include Front Line, which published a report in April 2010 following an investigation by barrister Brian Barrington.
“This is a bizarre outburst from Mr Shatter,” said Kerrins. “The people who have undermined trust in An Garda Síochána are those Gardaí who have, for several years now, resorted to violence, intimidation and abuse to deter peaceful protest. Trust has also been undermined by successive governments failure to address the problems or to set up an independent inquiry into policing of the project.
“That Minister Shatter can then blame campaigners for making the Gardaí look bad truly beggars belief. We are appalled by his response to this controversy. This attitude – which stems from the Government's conflicting roles as both developer and regulator of the Corrib project – underlines the need for an independent international inquiry into the policing of the project.
“It appears to have escaped Mr Shatter’s attention that the controversy over the recording of gardaí discussing raping a woman in their custody is about much more than the Corrib Gas project. It has caused public outrage, condemnation from women’s groups and human rights organisations and has seen protests in Dublin, Belmullet and Castlebar,” she concluded.