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Alan Shatter and the Shell Garda Corruption Scandal

Screen Shot 2013-08-28 at 00.03.05The latest news is that Roadbridge, the main contractor on the scandal ridden Corrib Gas Project has categorically denied allegations by a sub-contractor, OSSL, that Roadbridge was involved in handling any invoice related to “illegal or unethical activity”. Does this mean that Roadbridge will join the long queue of parties that appear to have grounds for a defamation action, but for some reason, do not actually launch legal proceedings?

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By John Donovan

For several months Mr. Alan Shatter TD, the Irish Minister for Justice, has been aware of the Shell Garda Corruption scandal that has led to the Garda being the subject of public ridicule on YouTube and in the print media.

Printed below is his answer to a question kindly raised on my behalf in the Irish Parliament by Clare Daly TD.

It is followed by a response email sent directly to me on his behalf.

The latest news is that Roadbridge, the main contractor on the scandal ridden Corrib Gas Project has categorically denied allegations by a sub-contractor, OSSL, that Roadbridge was involved in handling any invoice related to “illegal or unethical activity”.

Does this mean that Roadbridge will join the long queue of parties that appear to have grounds for a defamation action, but for some reason, do not actually launch legal proceedings? If Shell, or any of the named parties, including any senior Garda officers, did launch a libel action, all evidence would have to be disclosed and all witnesses be compelled to supply sworn witness statements making them subject to cross examination under oath.

Does Shell EP Ireland have a track record of handing out alcohol as a festive gift. YES, it definitely does. One recipient of an unsolicited gift of 6 bottles of wine sent by Shell has stepped forward already. James Laffey, the editor of The Western People, has confirmed that Shell sent him six bottles of wine before Christmas 2005 but that he returned them. This has been reported in The Sunday Times. He obviously wanted to protect his impartiality and integrity.

This happened at the time when OSSL say they were first instructed to supply alcohol as festive gifts to the Garda, who had no such scruples about accepting free booze from Shell.

I have already published extensive correspondence from OSSL to other parties, including Shell and the Garda, when despite the fact that OSSL mentioned the supply of free alcohol on behalf of Shell to the Garda, no one took issue at the time with that stated fact by OSSL.

When is Mr. Shatter going to institute what is needed – a genuinely independent inquiry, not another investigation of the Garda by the Garda?

PARLIAMENTARY REPLY FROM IRISH JUSTICE MINISTER, ALAN SHATTER TD

In his parliamentary reply, Mr Shatter said that he had passed correspondence containing the allegations (correspondence from me) to the Garda Commissioner for his attention.

I assume that this led to the new “independent” investigation by Supt Thomas Murphy surprisingly in progress for several weeks without the individuals making the allegations (supported by documentary evidence – an invoice published many times on this website) actually being interviewed thus far, or being asked to provide witness statements.

We do know that Supt. Murphy received a phone call from Michael Crothers, the Chief Executive of Shell EP Ireland, but “informed him that he was not a party to my enquiries”. What a shame that Supt. Murphy did not take the opportunity to simply ask the Shell CEO whether the alleged events were true or fictitious? He could also have asked him about the controversial all important invoice for the alcohol supplied in 2007, significantly described by Shell as a “disputed invoice,” not as a fake or fraudulent invoice.

Why would Supt. Murphy only ask OSSL, and not Shell, about the allegations? This course of action seems inexplicable and suggests that Shell has been exonerated even before Supt. Murphy has interviewed OSSL owners and obtained statements from them. In other words, exonerated before the so called independent investigation has even begun.

EMAIL RESPONSE ON BEHALF OF IRISH JUSTICE MINISTER, ALAN SHATTER TD

In the email sent to me on 27 May on behalf of  Mr. Shatter, I was fobbed off with a reference to the  Garda  Síochána  Ombudsman  Commission, the supposedly independent  body  set  up  under the Garda Síochána Act 2005 to  deal with complaints made  against members of An Garda Síochána – the Garda.

We now know that even if I had lodged a complaint with the Ombudsman it would not have been investigated. Unbeknown to me, two other individuals had lodged a complaint with the Ombudsman  about the same matter days earlier, but it was ruled inadmissible on the grounds that the individuals “were not directly affected by the alleged action”. The Ombudsman later admitted to an Irish radio station that it had previously misled them by stating that no complaint had been received.

QUESTION RAISED IN THE IRISH PARLIAMENT

QUESTION NO:  467

DÁIL QUESTION addressed to the Minister for Justice and Equality (Mr. Shatter)
by Deputy Clare Daly
for WRITTEN on Tuesday, 14th May, 2013.

*  To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality the action he has taken in relation to allegations which have been brought to his attention, that a company (details supplied) issued invoices to another company for the procurement of alcohol which was distributed to members of An Garda Síochána on the companys behalf..

- Clare Daly

REPLY.
Correspondence containing the allegations referred to was received in my Department recently and has been forwarded to the Garda Commissioner for his attention.  I am informed however by the Garda authorities that these allegations were previously made to the District Officer at Belmullet in December 2011 and that enquiries conducted into the allegations found no evidence of alcohol being distributed to members of the Garda Síochána by or on behalf of the company named.

EMAIL TO JOHN DONOVAN SENT ON BEHALF OF THE IRISH JUSTICE MINISTER, MR ALAN SHATTER TD

From: INFO <[email protected]>
Subject: Response
Date: 27 May 2013 10:36:31 GMT+01:00
To: [email protected]

[email protected]

Minister Reference: 0507171843

Dear Mr Donovan,

I am directed by the Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Mr Alan Shatter, T.D., to refer further to recent  correspondence and representations which have been forwarded to this Department by the Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, T.D., concerning the alleged conduct of certain members of An Garda Síochána.

As  previously  advised  the  Garda  Síochána  Ombudsman  Commission is the independent  body  set  up  under the Garda Síochána Act 2005 to  deal with complaints made  against members of An Garda Síochána.

Yours sincerely,

______________
Damien Brennan
Private Secretary to the
Minister for Justice and Equality

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