Mr Kane said Shell E&Pâ€™s practice was to read and then destroy the receipts. The company was now demanding proof of something it had destroyed itself, he said…
Corrib developer satisfied â€˜no evidence has been foundâ€™ over alleged gift to Garda
Lorna Siggins and Dan Griffin Wed, Aug 14, 2013
Shell E&P Ireland says it welcomes the Garda SÃochÃ¡naâ€™s examination of a contractorâ€™s allegations that large quantities of alcohol were delivered on its behalf to Belmullet Garda station in 2007.
The lead Corrib gas project developer was responding to yesterdayâ€™s Irish Times report that the Garda appointed a senior officer over a month ago to examine the claims made by contractor OSSL.
The â€œexaminationâ€ by Supt Thomas Murphy of Swinford Garda station was initiated subsequent to inquiries already conducted by the Garda into allegations that â€œalcohol was distributed to members of An Garda SÃochÃ¡na on behalf of Shell E&Pâ€.
The Garda had said at the weekend it â€œfound no evidenceâ€ to back up the allegations made to the district officer at Belmullet Garda station on December 7th, 2011. However, it confirmed to this newspaper on Monday a new examination had been initiated.
Claim drinks worth â‚¬35,000
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, in which a number of people were injured at Pollathomas pier. It led to a Garda Ombudsman investigation and recommendation â€“ not acted upon to date â€“ that a senior officer handling the protest be disciplined.
Shell E&P Ireland (Sepil) said in a statement yesterday that OSSLâ€™s â€œallegationsâ€ were â€œfirst raised in the context of a contractual dispute in 2010 following the termination of OSSLâ€™s original contract to supply subcontracting 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 end.â€
However, Mr Kane has claimed that Shell E&P destroyed evidence which supports the allegations. He told The Irish Times that Shell E&P always requested receipts for deliveries and â€œfavoursâ€.
Mr Kane said Shell E&Pâ€™s practice was to read and then destroy the receipts. The company was now demanding proof of something it had destroyed itself, he said, adding that, in February 2011, OSSL sought confirmation from the gardaÃ that it had delivered â€œfestive giftsâ€ to Belmullet Garda station.
In a letter to the Belmullet station, Mr Kane said Shell E&P had failed to reimburse OSSL for their outlay in delivering the items in December 2007. OSSL eventually invoiced Shell in August 2012 for the alleged deliveries.
Mr Kane said the invoice had been drafted out of frustration with Shell E&Pâ€™s failure to pay for the deliveries. The invoice details two trips to Northern Ireland to purchase thousands of euro worth of alcohol which was delivered to Belmullet Garda station and to a Garda superintendent in Athlone.
â€œWe got them a lot of booze [on the first trip] and they [Shell E&P] said, â€˜Thatâ€™s not enough. Thereâ€™s 300 cops up thereâ€™,â€ Mr Kane said.
According to Shell E&P chief executive Michael Crothers, the Corrib gas project contracted OSSL â€œto provide personal protective safety equipment and to perform and co-ordinate small-scale contracting works . . .â€
Two human rights organisations, Frontline Defenders and Afri, and Corrib gas protest group Shell to Sea have called for inquiries into the allegations in the Observer.
The British Sunday newspaper 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€.
Code of conduct
In a further statement last night, Shell said it had a long-established set of business principles and a supporting code of conduct â€œwhich are fundamental to the way we conduct our business and drive the behaviour expected of every employee.
â€œShell E&P Ireland Ltd conducts all of its business in accordance with these principles.â€
A spokesman for Frontline Defenders said that, 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 had 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 for six months of 2011.