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Press Release: SHELL and IRMS ‘QUESTIONS TO ANSWER’ ON BOLIVIA KILLING OF IRISH YOUTH

The Shell to Sea group has called on the oil company Shell, its security contractor IRMS and its partners in the Corrib Gas Project to answer key questions raised again by last night’s Prime Time Special on the killing of young Irishman Michael Dwyer.

See Prime Time Special here: http://www.rte.ie/player/#v=1061676

The documentary describes how Michael Dwyer ‘met people who would change the course of his life’ while working on Shell’s controversial gas pipeline in Co. Mayo. He travelled to Bolivia together with a group of other former employees of Shell’s Irish security company IRMS; their flights were paid for by wealthy businessmen who supported groups which aimed to overthrow Bolivia’s leftist government (which has nationalised its oil and gas). The Tipperary native was recruited into a far-right armed group, part funded by oil and gas companies, and according to testimony presented in the documentary, became a confidant of its leader, Eduardo Rosza Flores. His involvement with the group eventually led to his death in April in a police raid on the hotel in which he was staying with other militia members.

IRMS tactics in policing the protests at Shell sites in Co. Mayo have been consistently violent, and have seen a number of local residents subjected to disturbing surveillance, intimidation and physical attacks. In April, protestor Willie Corduff, one of the original ‘Rossport Five’, was beaten severely by masked men, while on a Shell compound which was heavily staffed with IRMS security personnel. A few weeks later, the fishing boat of protestor and local fisherman Pat O’Donnell was sunk at night. O’Donnell reported that his boat was boarded by a group of armed men wearing wetsuits who held him and his crew member at gunpoint while they sank the boat.

In the light of the documented violent activities of IRMS under contract to Shell in the Corrib gas project, Shell to Sea demands that the Irish government put the following questions to Shell E&P Ireland Ltd and its partners Statoil and Valencia:
• Are IRMS using Glengad as a recruiting and training ground for global mercenaries?
• Did the Irish government vet all security staff working for IRMS on the Shell sites in Co. Mayo?
• When did each of the individuals who went from the Shell compound in Erris to Bolivia cease to work for Shell/IRMS?
• When did each of the individuals who returned from Bolivia resume work for Shell/IRMS?
• What is the current connection between Shell and Banco, the 25% shareholder with Shell in the nationalised gas pipeline in Bolivia?
• What was the nature of the special armed protection services that IRMS advertised on its website before Dwyer was killed, and do they offer them in Glengad?

The community in Rossport and Glengad have repeatedly expressed concerns that Shell and IRMS have been given free rein in Mayo, with no accountability, security checks or monitoring of their links to international mercenaries, fascists and moneyed terrorists.

Two weeks ago, Cristian Domínguez of the Bolivian Confederation of Peasant Workers handed a letter to the Department of Foreign Affairs requesting a full investigation by the Irish Government into the involvement of Irish security company, IRMS, with right wing mercenary elements in eastern Europe, and anti government paramilitary forces operating in Bolivia. Mr. Domínguez is a survivor of the massacre of Pando in 2008 which was carried out by anti-government forces aligned with those who recruited Michael Dwyer.

“As campaigners for social justice as well as members of our own families, we are anxious not to add to the grief of the Dwyer family. Nevertheless the issues raised by the Prime Time documentary are too great to be ignored and have implications for how the law is being applied in modern Ireland and in whose interests this country is being governed,” said Shell to Sea spokesperson Caoimhe Kerins / Gary Ronaghan.