Home > Human Rights in the News, Policing > Policing the Shell to Sea Campaign

Policing the Shell to Sea Campaign

I’ve blogged previously about the policing of the Shell to Sea Campaign but a number of developments of late are worth noting. Last week 9 activitists were in court on charges of public order but had the charges struck out as the court held that they had been unlawfully held for 27 hours in Garda custody before being brought before a judge.

Indymedia explain that one of the nine cases was used as a test case, that of Eoin Lawless. Mr Lawless was arrested at 2.20pm on 28th June last year, on a public road. He was detained at the Shell site for two hours, before being brought to a police station. He was charged at 9.15pm. He was not brought before a court until 5.30pm the next day. The Supt at court offered the explanation that there insufficient officers at hand to deal with prisoners, but this of course is not a satisfactory reason to deny a person their right to liberty.

The local district court was not normally sitting the next day and the judge he had contact with stated that she would not be available until 5.30pm. The supt did not attempt to contact another judge, nor did he investigate the possibility of bringing the prisoner at a much earlier time to a court which was in sitting, such as Galway District Court.

Haughton J found numerous problems with this process

  • the prisoner should have been brought to a station without delay
  • he should have been charged without delay
  • he should have been brought before a court without delay

From 4.30pm the detention was unlawful. No explanation was provided for the 7 hour delay in charging him. The Supt failed in his duty to ensure the prisoner was brought before a court expeditiously. Indeed the court went so far as to find that these actions were a conscious and deliberate breach of the accused’s constitutional rights. Charges against the other 8 defendants were subsequently withdrawn.

Indymedia speak of the importance of this judgment for the Shell to Sea Campaigners, who for years “have complained about different ‘illegalities’ attached to the activities and behaviour of Shell and the Gardaí.” Indeed the lead story on the Indymedia site today is of how Shell manage to evade legal obligations to submit applications to the EPA while this week 27 campaigners are before the courts, one of whom has already received a five month sentence.

This story received a bare 150 word coverage in the Irish Times and this writer can’t find mention of it on either the Independent or Examiner websites. Yes this is a clear finding that in one of the longest running protests in the State, which raises very serious questions about the disproporationate application of the law to the powerful and, legally speaking, the powerless in society, the police of our State have breached fundamental rights of the campaigners. This is not a case which should be glanced over. Detention of persons for more than 24 hours is reserved in this state for the most serious of offences. The charges against these individuals have been described as public order offences none of which would merit more than 6 months imprisonment which means that the police weren’t even entitled to detain them for four hours without charge. In these cases detention should have been for the purpose of arrest which should have been for the purpose of bringing the accused before a judge. This is not what happened.

Once again very serious questions are emerging about how the Shell to Sea Campaign is being policed but more broadly about how the campaigners actions are being criminalised while Shell can continue to breach laws and regulations without sanction.

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  1. Claire McHugh
    March 31, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    Excellent concise post and it is great to see this issue getting attention and critique from human rights lawyers.

  2. sineadmaryring
    March 31, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    Very interesting post on a much neglected issue.

  3. Kathleen O'Donnell Lowry
    April 10, 2010 at 12:39 am

    So very pleased to have read your article. It’s imperative that these abuses are publicized. I am the sister of Pat O’Donnell living in New Jersey. Pat is currently serving a seven months sentence in Castlerea Prison for his activism against Shell’s planned gas pipeline route. He was found guilty solely on the word of a Garda. According to the Irish Constitution “The State guarantees liberty for the exercise of the following rights …the right of the citizens to express freely their convictions and opinions”. Doesn’t a man like Pat who loves his family and cares deeply about their health and future have a right to speak about his convictions and opinions? Thank you so much for the article. It’s disheartening to see that the national papers do not publicize these abuses.

  4. D Tully
    April 10, 2010 at 1:20 am

    First of all, quoting directly from the Indymedia article (ie. the protesters website) hardly provides for un-biased, effective journalism.

    “Once again very serious questions are emerging about how the Shell to Sea Campaign is being policed” – always from the same biased source: the protesters themselves! I’m sure drug dealers dont like the Gardai either and the reason is the same – they dont allow them to break the law or behave in any manner they please as they attempt to achieve their goal.

    What these protesters need to realise is that just because their protest is ‘non-violent’ (which it isn’t always), that does NOT make it peaceful or lawful.

    The methods employed by the protesters more often than not encroach unduly on the rights of other citizens (blocking public roads, preventing people from going to work etc) and often amount to criminal damage. Furthermore, the thuggish behaviour of many involved is a hinderance to protesters genuinely concerned with the safety of the pipeline and about the deal agreed with Shell.

    While I, unlike the posters on ‘Indymedia’ who cry ‘conspiracy’ every time a Court rules against them, will not argue with the finding of the Judge, I feel it is important to point out that their insistence on venting their frustration at the government towards An Garda Siochana has become unacceptable.

    One need only look at their website or see any of their posters plastered (illegally) on many towns and cities walls to see their campaign has become nothing more than a campaign of hate against the Gardai. I peronally pulled down a Shell to sea poster in Galway last week that had over 200 words on it – all about the gardai. Not once did it mention the words ‘corrib’ or even ‘gas’. Their youtube videos are clogged with scenes of protesters using the most disgusting and derogatory language towards Gardai including one statement about a member killed in the line of duty which was simply too distatseful to ever repeat.

    The Gardai are not in Bellmullet because they care either way about the project. In fact many may well agree with the protesters but like myself may be unwilling to assocaite themselves with a group who endorses such thuggish behaviour.

    The Gardai are there to uphold the law. Its as simple as that. Whenever a large crowd assembles in any area, be it for a sporting event, a concert etc (nevermind a situation as volatile as this one) there is ALWAYS a chance of riot, violent disorder or other offences contrary to the Public Order Act and the Gardai are there to police the situation.

    Furthermore, if a group of protesters take it upon themselves to sit in the middle of a PUBLIC road (often, as can be seen on the Shell to Sea youtube page, in dangerous, wet, dark conditions) it is the duty of the Gardai to remove them by whatever means necessary (and they only do so after endless pleas – again, this can be seen on the shelltosea youtube page). They do this to protect the rights of other citizens. For example, what about an inexperiened driver who comes upon such a scene and runs over a protester, or swerves and seriously injures or kills himself.

    The Gardai in this country are more accountable than most police forces in the world. The quality with which they do their work has been recognised internationally on many occasions. Just a couple of weeks ago a judge in one of the UKs highest courts praised the Gardai for their vital role in one of Europes biggest ever drug seizures. There are endless examples of Gardai putting their lives at great risk, and indeed sacrificing them, for the protection of others.

    While there is no doubt that they need to be highly accountable for their actions (which this case, ironically, proves that they are) I suggest it is bad practice to add fuel to the fire of a group who has completely lost sight of the purpose of its existence to help them scandalise and insult the Gardai.

  5. SCleary
    April 10, 2010 at 8:05 am

    Good article.

    In reply to D Tully’s stating “The Gardai in this country are more accountable than most police forces in the world.”

    Professor Dermot Walsh of the Director of the Centre for Criminal Justice at Limerick University has called the Gardaí one of the most secretive police forces in the world. “Unlike many other police forces in western liberal democracies, they are reluctant to open up. They really need to start allowing their policies, their practices to be opened up to public scrutiny,”

    With regard to policing Shell, the Gardaí have been totally one-sided in their application of the law. The people who were arrested in this case and were found to have been illegally detained were brought into a Shell compound from the public road. Why??? The Shell compound itself had no planning permission or consents.

    In light of what happened at Pollathomais Pier the Garda Ombudsman asked permission from the Minister for Justice permission to investigate how Gardaí handle protests. Dermot Aherne refused them permission to investigate.

    D Tully’s point regarding quoting from Indymedia surely stems from the point raised in the article that media chose to ignore the story.

    25 of the 27 people who were up in court that week relating to the campaign had their charges dismissed or dropped. That shows something strange going on.

    In 2006, Supt. Joe Gannon stated that the Gardaí had initiated a no arrest policy for policing the Corrib. How do you police a large number of protestors if your not arresting any of them? The answer was to batter them.

  6. m.m.mccarron
    April 10, 2010 at 10:54 am

    Thanks to Vicky Conway for her article. Often the legal details have to cover many of the more personal stories like the young people from England who were on their ninth appearance in a Mayo District Court spread over the months since June 09 only to learn that their appearance before the Court was not lawful. Each of them had spent almost 1000 euros to get themselves to the Court. Will they be reimbursed? The concern is the manner of faciltitating the Right to Protest — one did not see policing or prosecution of the protestors over days at the Passport Office recently. The situation at the G 20 in 09 produced an almost immediate inquiry into policing aptly named ADAPTING TO PROTEST. It is accessible on the web under that title and would make useful reading for the Ministry of Justice, the DPP and An Garda Siochana.

  7. D Tully
    April 10, 2010 at 11:41 am

    In response to SCleary’s point about Prof Dermot Walsh’s outlandish statement – this was refuted by even the head of the INDEPENDENT Garda Ombudsman Commission. It did serve to get Mr Walsh’s name in a few of the national papers though…

    If you think they are not one of the most accountable forces in the world ask yourself honestly what would happen the protesters if they tries to pull off many of their illegal acts in another jurisdiction.

    You dont have to post your answer here but it’s ok to accept that you’re wrong even if you are still against the project (which it barely mentions on the whole of this page what that’s about…strange.)

  8. D Tully
    April 10, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    Also, while the safety of the pipeline is indeed a very important matter, when you look at the methods adopted by many of the protesters one has to question their motivation (especially those who are not from the locality).

    They way in which they behave is disgraceful (just watch ANY of their own youtube videos).

    Of all of the major wrongs and governmental shortcomings in this country why do they insist on wasting Garda overtime for this cause (one which, while there are a few drawbacks, HAS also changed many peoples lives for the better).

  9. Brian Cafferty
    April 10, 2010 at 9:10 pm

    I would say the safety of the proposed pipeline is an extremely important matter, especially to those who have to live near it, but also to those for whom it will set a precedent for transporting raw gas from an offshore site through a residential area at extremely high pressure.
    If our government force this scheme through by using heavy handed police tactics, there is no doubt that Shell will try to replicate the project in Ireland and around the world. The savings to the company would be enormous.

    None of the tactics used in protest against the scheme are particularly unusual; sit-ins, lock-ons, hunger strikes, etc have all be seen before and since. What has been unusual has been the roadside ” rough justice” handed out by the gardaí, the close co-operation with Shell, and the refusal of the Department of Justice to accept recommendations from the Ombudsman.

    Attacking the protesters by comparing them to drug dealers and calling them “thuggish”, as D Tully does above, is juvenile and meaningless.

  10. Vicky Conway
    April 11, 2010 at 9:44 am

    DTully – the reason why these sources are relied on is because of a lack of coverage elsewhere, as pointed out in the article. I have contacted the Courts Service for a copy of the judgement and am still waiting.
    Further I am not supporting the use of unlawful methods by protestors. I am, however, questioning the application of the law. Dozens of protestors have been imprisoned but there have been on cases against either Shell (who are failing in their legal obligations) or the Guards. You say that this case shows the accountability of the Guards but it does not result in imprisonment of the Guards involved or any form of sanction.
    As to the quote by Dermot Walsh, that was in fact from a joint paper we delivered at an international policing conference in Limerick last December. I fully appreciated that the protestors would have been treated worse in other jurisdictions but does that not make the guards the most accountable in the country. If you look at the figures emerging from the Ombudsman close to half of complaints continue to be investigated by the Gardaí. That is not independent. But that is just one form of accountability. Dermot Walsh’s book THe Irish Police makes it very clear that democratic mechanisms in this country our very weak, so if we as members of the public have questions or concerns about policing, but no specific complaint, we have no method of having those heard. Joint Policing Committees are highly ineffective in achieving this. Other countries have much more developed methods for this such as Policing Boards and Authorities. Numerous international bodies have raised very serious concerns both about policing in Ireland but also about the Ombudsman Commission itself (European Committee for Prevention of Torture, the Human Rights Committee of the UN). It cannot be concluded that the Guards are the most accountable – take the basic fact that only one Guard was prosecuted in the wake of the Morris Tribunal.
    At the end of the day this is not about the protestors did wrong so its irrelevant what the Guards did. These are seperate issues which need to be looked at. The Guards have greater responsibilities in society given the rights and powers they have bee afforded so we should in fact be even more concerned about any unlawful acts committed by them. The comment by Eamonn above shows just how serious this can be (thank you for sharing that Eamonn).

  11. D Tully
    April 11, 2010 at 11:25 am

    First of all, as to Eamonn’s foul mouthed, aggressive comment (which is typical of any conversation with a Shell to Sea protester), no I was not there on the day in question but have been there on other occasions.
    As to your very serious allegations of assault causing serious harm, I’m sure you can understand why I can’t take your own claims at face value. Of all of the many many hours of footage of ‘police brutatlity’ in Bellmullet, coupled with my own first hand experiences, I have never seen force used that would ‘cripple’ any person. Also, it is a common claim (another that I am sceptical about) that ‘women and children’ were assaulted. One has to ask why were parents bringing children to what they claim to be an unbearably violent situation at the hands of the Gardai?? Talk about human rights violations….

    To Brian – Let me make very clear that I am 100% supportive of ensuring the pipeline is safe. However, what has become very clear to me is that very little of the protesters energy is directed towards Shell or the government anymore. It is nothing more than a hate campaign against the Gardai and some of the statements and allegations made (see Eamonn above) are ridiculous. EG. the poster I refer to above claiming ‘attempted murder’ by the Guards. Ask yourself what guard in this country would do something like that?
    Finally, just to clarify, my likening the sitution to ‘drug dealers’ was simply an attempt to highlight the fact that ALL law-breakers dislike the Gardai – from people who are caught speeding to the most serious criminals. This unfortunately went over your head.

    To Vicky – In my opinion there has been more than enough media coverage of the Corib Gas issue and as it seems that An Bord Pleanala will not allow Shell to complete the pipeline until we can be assured it is safe, it seems to me that the majority of people have come to terms with the project even if Shell have got a very good deal (the project has also been a massive boost to the local economy).

    Let me stress once again however that I am not arguing the pros or cons of the project itself – I am expressing my annoyance at the so called ‘Shell’ to sea protesters are continuing to focus their attentions on the Gardai. It seems that as interest in the project itself has faltered, they have now invented a new ‘human rights’ issue to protest about. Rebels with a made up cause.

    If you were referring to coverage of ‘policing the campaign’, perhaps the reason there is very little is because there is no reason for it. As I have said already, apart from the allegations from the protesters themselves of crippling injuries and women and children being ‘battered’ there is zero evidence to support claims of brutality on the part of the Gardai. I have even seen protesters clai that doctors and paramedics are in on the conspiracy. It’s ridiculous.

    As to procedural shortcomings on the Gardais part – lets not forget that the case which sparked off this discussion was one which found against the Gardai in court (which, according to the protesters also works for Shell) and in favour of the protesters!
    You also say that the Supt. in question will face no sanction – how do you know that he will not be sanctioned for his error by a superior??

    Finally, you say “The Guards have greater responsibilities in society given the rights and powers they have been afforded so we should in fact be even more concerned about any unlawful acts committed by them” – I agree with you 100% and there are many examples of Gardai being investigated and losing their jobs for breach of disciplinary procedures (just type ‘Commissioner An Garda Siochana’ into any of the case law databases).

    Are you implying that unlawful acts are frequently carried out by the Gardai?? If so, please enlighten me with examples.

  12. J McNulty
    April 11, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    Vicky in the final paragraph of your article you mention your concern that the protesters are being criminalised while Shell continue to breach regulations without sanction. Well surely by your later logic you would agree that these two issues are, and should be, completely seperate, especially given that the purpose of your article is Garda accountability. Shell should, of course, have no right to breach laws such as planning permission and other administrative regulations but what connection does this have to the policing of the protesters given that the Gardai have no right or duty to interfere with issues such as planning permission etc which are all dealth with by local councils and other such bodies.

  13. Vicky Conway
    April 11, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    Examples are easily provided. The Morris Tribunal is a very clear case. I’ve a book coming out on the Tribunal this week if you are interested: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Blue-Wall-Silence-Tribunal-Accountability/dp/0716530317/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1271006229&sr=1-2
    Further, if you search the Dáil debates you will see that over €32million has been paid out in actions against the Gardai over a five year and nine month period: http://debates.oireachtas.ie/DDebate.aspx?F=DAL20090922.xml&Node=1368
    Those payments will all be for unlawful acts such as unlawful arrest, assault and so on. Given that amount it can hardly be said that unlawful actions are infrequent.

  14. Vicky Conway
    April 12, 2010 at 8:57 am

    JMcNulty, ideally yes they should be seperate however I am concerned that there is a larger issue here. If we take this as a situation with two players (Shell and the protestors), the weaker player is being penalised more than the corporate player, quite possibly because of the financial implications. The ‘ref’ in this situation, the government, can instruct the Commissioner to make the policing of the protest a priority and we have seen an intense policing presence at the protests. I haven’t been to these protests, so I can’t and won’t comment specifically, but protest situations around the world have documented how a heavier police involvement can antagonise and inflame a situation. So the government decision may create more behaviour that merits a criminal response, as our law is defined, while Shell continue to breach regulations without response.
    The very fact that planning permission etc is dealt with by local councils and authorities and council makes my point – a civil remedy is applied to those breaches of laws while a criminal one is applied to the protestors actions. I’m trying to challenge, to an extent, what we define as criminal and what we do not. We’ve seen a greater push of late towards police action on corporate crime. Many would argue that what Shell have done (both here and in other countries such as Nigeria) should be viewed differently.

  15. D Tully
    April 12, 2010 at 9:54 am

    Vicky, you are stepping all over your own point with your last replies and being very hypocritical.

    Earlier you bemoan how the gardai are not accountable and yet now you say there are endless examples of unlawful acts by the gardai being dealt with by the courts (amounting to 32million euro). How could this be so if they are not accountable? If they are so unaccountable – who is taking all those costly cases?

    Furthermore – the Morris tribunal should be seen as a positive response to an unwanted problem in the force. It highlights the fact that an Garda Siochana, from the rank and file members to the Commissioner, will not tolerate any wrongdoings by it’s members.

    On top of this what you now seem to be calling for is civil action as opposed to a criminal one against unruly protesters. This is a sharp turn away from the point of your original article.

    When addressing any issue it is important to at least temporarily see past your own personal bias, which it is evident from your writings on this page you have failed to do.

  16. Vicky Conway
    April 12, 2010 at 10:02 am

    I’m citing those cases as examples of unlawful acts by the guards. I do not believe that civil actions are a satisfactory means of accountability. If a police officer has done wrong to a citizen action should be taken against that officer by the state. It should not be down to a citizen to take on all the risks of a civil action to get any satisfaction. That is not an adequate system of accountability.

    The Morris Tribunal does not establish any such attitude among an Garda Siochana. Indeed, quite the opposite, the unwillingness of officers to tell the truth at the Tribunal and the protection afforded by the representative associations, added to the refusal to hand over early internal reports to the government which culminated in substantial delays in establishing the Tribunal, indicate unwillingness to have wrongdoing exposed. Or certainly in relation to that issue. There are indications that change is beginning to happen but I’m not convinced its wholescale.

    On your third point, I’m actually calling for criminal actions against Shell, less of a police presence at the protests, greater discussions with the protestors who have many valid concerns which are not being listened to and a general consideration of what we do and do not criminalise in this State.

  17. D Tully
    April 12, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    Eamonn- I did not say it didn’t happen I said I can’t say with certainty that it did happen just because YOU say it did. Of course you’re going to claim something like that. Unfortunately nobody else has seen evidence to support your claim. Do you have any witnesses to the assault?? Where is the footage now??
    Also, you can’t just tell someone to ‘stick it where the sun don’t shine’ because they disagree with you. Maybe you should have a doctor check did you hit your head in that assault….

    Vicky- You keep repeating the same points (one’s that I’ve already concurred with) “If a police officer has done wrong to a citizen action should be taken against that officer by the state”. True – but as in all other criminal cases there has to be evidence to support it other than a claim by a protester. If there wasn’t then you’d actually have a real human rights issue to write about.

    You say that officers lied/didn’t give evidence at the tribunal. Are you suggesting the courts are also involved in some form of cover up to allow that to go on??
    You’re blog should be entitled ‘Anarchy in Ireland’ instead.

    Finally, you say there should be more discussion with protesters. That is true but you have to be met half way. Shouting ‘**** Off Pig’ etc. etc. is hardly going to lead to any groundbreaking conclusions. The protesters involved are FAR from blameless in relation to these issues and this has been agreed time and again in the courts where they have been described as ‘bullies’ and ‘secret police’. But of course that judge must be working for Shell too……

  18. April 12, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    Hi all, can I just remind our guests that they should debate issues etc. in an atmosphere of mutual respect. In addition, HRiI are subject to libel laws (and we do not have deep pockets!), so please do not cast aspirtions on peoples characters.

    So deep breath and please continue without elements of viciousness which is creeping in…

    Thanks everybody,

    Liam

  19. D Tully
    April 12, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    Thats great Eamonn that a court saw the video.
    It trust they administered justice accordingly so I fail to see why you are saying the Gardai are not accountable.

    A garda ‘chased away’ an ambulance?? And a trained paramedic agreed to leave an injured person lying in the drain?? God your story is fascinating!

  20. D Tully
    April 12, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    Also Eamonn- you’ve seen the warning, suggesting some sort of ‘meet up’ is completely over stepping the mark.

    If you can’t compose yourself when typing a written text I can only imagine what you are like towards the Gardai in the heat of the moment.

  21. April 12, 2010 at 9:00 pm

    I would like to reiterate Liam’s point. We are delighted to host a debate on these issues but all commenters MUST adhere to the basic tenets of public debate i.e. respect, mannerly engagement, and constructive engagement. We will, if necessary, edit comments that do not adhere to these principles.

  22. D Tully
    April 12, 2010 at 11:33 pm

    Eamonn you are clearly very passionate about the campaign and that is an admirable quality.

    However, I too am entitled to my own opinion and see no harm in expressing it. This is an open forum and it is implied that ‘heated discussion’ may occur in relation to certain topics.

    As I have said already I am as keen as anyone to see the pipeline is made safe, but I am entitled to disapprove of many tactics employed by the protesters which I see as counter productive. (i.e. their relentless attempts to scandalise An Garda Siochana)

    This article has provoked a huge amount of discussion from people who are clearly opinionated about the project – yet we have not discussed Shell, the pipeline, alternative ideas or approaches or any sort of compromise agreement at all. This is precisely why the Shell to Sea campaign is beginning to falter. Venting anger at the Gardai will not help.

    • SCleary
      April 26, 2010 at 10:10 am

      D Tully: You state that you have first hand experience of the situation, I would ask if you would expand on your first hand experiences. Are you a Garda? I think it would be useful to know where you are coming from.

      I am involved in the campaign and it’s clear that Eamonn is too and we also know where Vicky Conway is coming from so I think it’d just be useful to know.

      You say:
      “Of all of the many many hours of footage of ‘police brutatlity’ in Bellmullet, coupled with my own first hand experiences, I have never seen force used that would ‘cripple’ any person.”

      I have seen force used that would & could “cripple” people. I know at least 3 people that were protesting, who are still feeling the effect of injuries that were sustained at the hands of Gardaí a number of years after the incidents.

      With regard to your assertion that the campaign has become too focussed on Gardaí, the campaign aims and the vast majority of the campaign is still very much focused on Shell/Statoil & Vermillion. See here as and example:

      http://www.shelltosea.com/content/letters-sent-shell-claim-ongoing-harassment

      Unfortuately the Government have chosen to put the Gardaí as the main buffer between Shell and the protestors. So that what should have been a civil matter between 2 parties began a “law & order” issue with the Gardaí backing one party.
      See here as an example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=czw37WlF9tQ

      Fintan O’Toole (& possibly could be said that retired Chief Supt. Tony McNamara too) said basically the same in his latest article.

      However what I have been most shocked with from my experiences is from the Gardaí’s behaviour has been their willingness to use violence against middle-aged and elderly people. Not that I’m saying they were correct in there handling with others but I’ve seen Gardaí pushing, hassling and using unnessary force and men & women over the age of 70.
      See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZ4_TZQTj3Y

      Supt Michael Larkin has stated that he sees protests as a “as a battle for democracy”. I think that this is very dangerous & polarising language for the Garda in charge of the policing of Corrib to be using. Is he trying to say or insinuate that people who protest against Shell are enemies of democracy?
      Are Shell on the pro-democracy side?

      See: http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/second-summer-of-conflict-looms-as-ship-returns-to-lay-final-pipes-94559.html

  23. D Tully
    May 2, 2010 at 11:34 pm

    Hi SCleary,

    No, I am not a guard.

    You say – “I have seen force used that would & could “cripple” people. I know at least 3 people that were protesting, who are still feeling the effect of injuries that were sustained at the hands of Gardaí a number of years after the incidents”. These claims are very similar to Eamonns very serious allegations. He even claims t have video evidence of the incident. He also claims he got to show it to a judge after taking a case but the judge ‘ignored it’ because he ‘works for Shell’. Are you also a conspiracy theorist? If so I see no point in continuing this discussion with you.

    You say the campaign is mostly still focused on the Shell issue – in my opinion this is simply not true. see my examples re the ‘Shell to Sea’ posters above (a fresh batch of which have been illegally plastered around Galway City – nothing to do with Shell). Also on numerous occasions that stalls have been set up on shop st to raise awareness of the issue all I have seen and heard is discussion of the Gardai. As I say, I honestly believe the protesters are beginning to realise their campaign has been in vain and have now created this new human rights issue to fill up their free time.

    Regarding your claims the Gardai have used force against the elderly – i have never witnessed this, nor have I seen any evidence to support this so will not speculate about it.
    I don’t see what the problem would be with using force, where necessary (as it often is in Belmullet) against “middle-aged people”….

    Why is it so difficult for you to accept that many of the protesters methods, and I have witnessed them myself, are illegal and breach the public order act. That’s a fact – not opinion. The Gardai have to enforce the law.

    Lastly, I am not aware of the context your quote from the Supt. was made in so again am reluctant to speculate (or like many of the protesters do – lie).

  1. April 22, 2010 at 8:04 pm

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