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Protests continue at Shell HQ

The Irish Times
Saturday, April 28, 2007
Protesters vow to continue picketing Shell HQ
Kitty Holland
Shell to Sea protesters attempted to block Shell E&P Ireland staff from entering their offices at Corrib House, Leeson Street, Dublin, yesterday. A Garda spokesman said the protesters were "removed peacefully" and no arrests were made.Photograph: Matt Kavanagh
The Dublin branch of the Shell to Sea campaign is determined to continue its protests outside Shell E&P Ireland's headquarters, despite scuffles with gardaí there yesterday morning, according to one of its spokeswomen.
Caoimhe Kerins said feeling among co-protesters yesterday was that the demonstration, which had begun at about 7.30am yesterday and which had been intended to prevent staff entering the building, "went quite well".
Gardaí were called to the scene by staff at Corrib House when about 25 protesters sat in the way of staff attempting to enter the rear of the building.
A Garda spokesman said the protesters were "removed peacefully" while some members of the force and some protesters received "minor cuts".
"They assembled again at the front of the building at about 11.20am for a bit and then dispersed. No arrests were made."
A spokeswoman for Shell E&P said the company deplored the "aggressive tactics used by the Shell to Sea group outside its offices in Dublin".
"Some workers were initially physically prevented from entering the building. However, prompt Garda action ensured all staff got to work.
"Staff arriving at work were subjected to both physical and verbal abuse. A number of employees were heavily jostled by the protesters. Damage was also caused to the car of one staff member as she tried to enter the car park. Workers in adjoining buildings were also abused and prevented from parking their cars."
She said the company "fully recognised the right to peaceful protest" but added yesterday's protest was "anything but peaceful".
Ms Kerins said the point of the protest was to "shut the building for the day to highlight the €51 billion worth of gas that is being given away to this company."
She said they also objected to State funds being spent on a Garda presence at the site in Co Mayo.
"I'm sure people would prefer to see some of that being spent on schools and hospitals. We have a crisis in school buildings and thousands are being spent every day to protect Shell."
Figures published yesterday indicate the State is spending more than €800,000 per month on Garda security for the Corrib gas project.
Ms Kerins said: "We have been targeting the building for a number of weeks now, quite quietly, giving out leaflets to staff explaining our opposition to the refinery at Erris. We will be continuing our protests there for sure."
A spokesman for Mayo Shell to Sea said local people were happy to have people protest in support of them. "All we ask that they do so in an orderly fashion."
© 2007 The Irish Times

Posted Date: 
30 April 2007 - 8:02pm