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Civil engineering firm ‘categorically denies’ former Corrib contractors claims

Roadbridge confirms it handled invoices for OSSL in 2007

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Garda directing vehicles at Shell’s gas refinery site at Ballinaboy in north Mayo. A former Shell contractor, OSSL, claims it made deliveries of alcohol to Belmullet Garda station between 2005 and 2007, claims which Shell denies.

Lorna Siggins: Wed, Aug 28, 2013

The Corrib gas projects main contractor Roadbridge has confirmed it handled invoices for the company in dispute with Shell E&P Ireland over alleged non-payment for alcohol deliveries.

However, Roadbridge chairman Jim Mulcair has told The Irish Times his company “categorically denies” that it would have handled or paid any invoice related to “illegal or unethical activity”.

Mr Mulcair was responding to a query about claims by contractor OSSL that it is owed more than €43,000 for transporting alcohol from Northern Ireland to north Mayo for delivery as festive gifts on Shell’s behalf in December 2007.

No evidence

OSSL, which was employed to provide services to the Corrib gas project, claims that one consignment of alcohol valued at €35,000 was delivered to Belmullet Garda station in 2007, and that it had previously delivered smaller quantities of alcohol to the station in December 2005 and December 2006.

An Garda Síochána is examining the claims, following a previous inquiry which found no evidence of alcohol being distributed to members of An Garda Síochána by, or on behalf, of Shell E&P. Shell E&P Ireland (SEPIL) said it “unequivocally rejects” the claims, for which it says its own investigation had found “no evidence”, and has welcomed the Garda examination. It says it is satisfied that OSSL was treated fairly as a contractor on the Corrib gas projects from 2005 to 2010.

Desmond Kane of OSSL

Desmond Kane of OSSL

However, OSSL director Des Kane claims that 21 invoices were filed through Roadbridge from 2007, at Shell’s request, and that the problem arose when Roadbridge began deducting 35 per cent. Mr Kane claims previous receipts for payments of services, ranging from “festive gifts” to “sweeteners” for local residents, were destroyed on Shell’s instructions.

In a statement to The Irish Times, Mr Mulcair said: Roadbridge employed OSSL as a subcontractor on the Corrib project commencing in 2007. OSSL therefore submitted invoices on a regular basis to Roadbridge for payment.

Roadbridge deducted the relevant tax from each of the OSSL invoices and remitted this withholding tax directly to the Revenue Commissioners.

OSSL raised a court action in 2011 against Roadbridge and SEPIL alleging that there had been excessive tax withholding on invoices from 2007. There was settlement of all claims and contractual matters in August 2012.”

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