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Corrib protesters meet Minister tomorrow as Garda costs escalate

Corrib protesters to meet Ryan

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

DOWN TO THE WIRE?Newly-appointed Bellmullet Garda Chief, Supt John Gilligan chats to other gardaí at the Bellanaboy gate last Friday morning. Protesters have just returned fencing from the original pipeline route.Corrib protesters meet Minister tomorrow as Garda costs escalateÁine RyanMINISTER for Energy, Éamon Ryan, will meet a Shell to Sea delegation at Government buildings tomorrow (Wednesday) to discuss aspects of the Corrib gas debacle. It is thought that at least one member of the Rossport Five will attend.Last week, his colleague, Justice Minister, Brian Lenihan, revealed that the Government has paid €8.1 million to cover Garda costs at the proposed Bellanaboy refinery in the last year.After last Friday’s protest (October 11), a leading Shell to Sea supporter claimed he had seen a number of gardaí on the Shell site, despite the fact there was no incursion by protesters who had gathered from early morning for a Day Of Solidarity. This claim was categorically denied by Supt John Gilligan, who also dismissed another allegation that a Paddy Wagon had accompanied Shell workers on site in the early hours. Mr Terence Conway told The Mayo News that, at around 8.30am, he saw a group of gardaí from Gate Three (the one nearest the Bellanaboy bridge) but they had disappeared behind some machinery before he had time to take a photograph. “I was on my way to the protest from Inver at around 8.30am. I was late as I had slept it out. Initially, I was stopped at the crossroads and asked to show my licence, I was then allowed drive on. I saw a bus-load of gardaí,” said Mr Conway. “I drove up towards Gate One and before I reached Gate Three I saw gardaí on the site. I would say there were four or five,” he said. When The Mayo News suggested he may have mistaken Shell security or employees for the gardaí, he emphatically denied this. Some months ago, another source claimed to The Mayo News that gardaí, while on an overnight operation on-site, had told security personnel to turn off all the security cameras. Recently appointed, Supt John Gilligan, totally dismissed these claims. “I was in charge of last Friday’s operation and I can categorically say that I didn’t authorise or need to send any gardaí onto the site. “Neither was there an escort of staff onto the site. Shell have their own security,” said Supt Gilligan. He acknowledged there had been no trespass by protesters and that, other than ‘a few scuffles’, the protest had been relatively incident-free. He also told said that his experience working with Interpol in Paris had no influence on his appointment to Belmullet. The protest attracted supporters from Dublin, Galway and Limerick. Some protesters who sat on the roadway in an attempt to block Shell lorries were removed by gardaí. Shell to Sea spokesman, Mr John Monaghan, claimed there was a large Garda force, including members of the Public Order Unit. In a symbolic gesture, protesters returned Shell fencing for the original pipeline route, now abandoned by the company.
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Posted Date: 
17 October 2007 - 5:43pm