ARTICLES BY LORNA SIGGINS ABOUT THE SHELL GARDA SCANDAL PUBLISHED TODAY AUG 13, BY THE IRISH TIMES
Garda examining claims alcohol was delivered to Mayo station
Senior officerâ€™s examination underway for over a month
Tue, Aug 13, 2013
An Garda SÃochÃ¡na has appointed a senior officer to examine claims a company contracted to Shell E&P Ireland delivered large quantities of alcohol to Belmullet Garda station in Mayo. The Garda Press Office confirmed to The Irish Times last night that â€œa superintendent has been appointed to examine the matterâ€.
It is understood Supt Thomas Murphy of Swinford Garda station has been instructed to contact the contractor, OSSL, in relation to a number of allegations against the force.
The â€œexaminationâ€ has been underway for more than a month, and is subsequent to inquiries previously conducted by the gardaÃ following â€œallegationsâ€ made to the district officer at Belmullet Garda station on December 7th, 2011, that â€œalcohol was distributed to members of An Garda SÃochÃ¡na on behalf of Shell E&Pâ€.
Inquiries conducted in relation to the December 2011 allegations had â€œfound no evidence of alcohol being distributed to members of An Garda SÃochÃ¡na by, or on behalf of, Shell E&Pâ€, gardaÃ have said.
Two human rights organisations, Frontline Defenders and Afri, and Corrib gas protest group Shell to Sea yesterday called for inquiries into the allegations reported in Sundayâ€™s Observer newspaper.
The Observer claimed alcohol delivered by a Shell contractor, OSSL, included a drinks consignment worth â‚¬35,000 to Belmullet Garda Station in December 2007.
This was six months after one of the most fractious Corrib gas protests at Pollathomas pier, leading to a Garda Ombudsman investigation and recommendation â€“ not acted upon to date â€“ that a senior officer handling the protest be disciplined.
Shell welcomes Garda examination of alcohol claims
Report claimed drink worth â‚¬35,000 was delievered to gardai on Shellâ€™s behalf
Tue, Aug 13, 2013
The lead Corrib gas project developer was responding to todayâ€™s Irish Times report that An Garda appointed a senior officer over a month ago to examine the claims made by contractor OSSL.
The examination, by Supt Thomas Murphy of Swinford Garda station, is subsequent to inquiries previously conducted by gardaÃ into allegations made to the district officer at Belmullet Garda station on December 7th, 2011, that â€œalcohol was distributed to members of An Garda SÃochÃ¡na on behalf of Shell E&Pâ€.
An Garda said at the weekend it had â€œfound no evidenceâ€ to back up the allegations. However, it confirmed to this newspaper yesterday a new examination had been initiated.
Last Sundayâ€™s Observer newspaper reported the deliveries on Shellâ€™s behalf by OSSL included a drinks consignment worth â‚¬35,000 to Belmullet Garda station in December 2007.
This was six months after one of the most fractious Corrib gas protests, where a number of people were injured at Pollathomas pier.
It led to a Garda Ombudsman investigation and recommendation- not acted upon to date – that a senior officer handling the protest be disciplined.
Shell E&P Ireland said in a statement this morning) that OSSLâ€™s allegations were â€œfirst raised in the context of a contractual dispute in 2010 following the termination of OSSLâ€™s original contract to supply sub-contracting services during the construction of the Corrib gas terminal in Co Mayoâ€.
The company said â€œinvoices for alleged alcohol deliveries in 2007 were not generated by OSSL until August 24th, 2012 following the settlement of the contractual dispute earlier the same monthâ€.
â€œTo date, OSSL have not been able to supply receipts or any form of written evidence to support their claims,â€ the company said, and it was â€œsatisfied that OSSL was treated fairly as a contractor on the Corrib gas projectâ€.
â€œFurthermore, SEPIL is satisfied that the allegations made by OSSL have been investigated and no evidence has been found to substantiate them,â€ the company said.
â€œWe hope An Garda SÃochÃ¡naâ€™s involvement will bring this matter to an endâ€.
Two human rights organisations, Frontline Defenders and Afri, and Corrib gas protest group Shell to Sea yesterday called for inquiries into the allegations reported in the Observer.
The Observer also claimed the same contractor had been asked to provide â€œsweetenersâ€ to local residents, including â€œa tennis court, cookers, television sets, agricultural equipment, school fees, home improvements, garden centre visits, forestry equipmentâ€.
A spokesman for Frontline said while it could not comment on the veracity of the allegations, the issue of lack of trust by the north Mayo community in gardaÃ policing the gas project has arisen during its report by barrister Brian Barrington on the project in 2010, and again when it participated with Amnesty International in independent monitoring of protest during six months of 2011.
â€œThe perception has been that the gardaÃ have not been impartial in their policing, and so it is in the forceâ€™s interest to clarify a situation regarding serious allegations,â€ the Frontline spokesman said.
â€œOtherwise, it will appear that he believes this to be an acceptable model of how the law works in Ireland,â€ Mr Murray said in a statement.
The Department of Justice has confirmed that contact was made with the Garda Commissioner about the claims in correspondence sent to it in May.
It said Garda authorities informed Mr Shatter that â€œinquiries conducted into the allegations found no evidence of alcohol being distributed to members of the Garda SiochÃ¡na by or on behalf of the company namedâ€.
The Garda Ombudsman confirmed yesterday that it was not currently investigating the claims, which first surfaced on the whistleblowersâ€™ website royaldutchshellplc.com.
Shell to Sea has called for a â€œfully independent international inquiryâ€. It said that a recommendation made last year by UN Human Rights Defenders Special Rapporteur Mrs Margaret Sekaggya that â€œall allegations and reports of intimidation, harassment and surveillance in the context of the Corrib Gas disputeâ€ be investigated in a prompt and impartial manner had been ignored to date.