The Irish public await news of the Garda Ombudsman investigation into allegations made by OSSL, Shell’s “Mr Fix-it” company on the Corrib Gas Project.
OSSL claims that it purchased and distributed on behalf of Shell E&P Ireland a river of free booze as festive gifts to Irish cops who were policing protests against the controversial pipeline.
The cops were so thirsty that at least one senior officer helped to unload a van load of free booze sponsored by Shell.
When The Observer and The Sunday Times published articles on the subject, James Laffey, editor of The Western People newspaper revealed that he received a festive gift of free booze direct from Shell E&P Ireland. Mr Laffrey returned the gift (six bottles of wine) as he thought it would be improper to accept.
I subsequently received information from a third party investigating the allegations, that a number of Irish news organizations received wine as festive gifts from Shell.
Liamy McNally, a former broadcaster on Mid-West radio has revealed that Shell did send free booze to the radio station as a festive gift at Christmas. He does not recall that it was returned to Shell.
This provides confirmation that it was routine for Shell E&P Ireland to hand out free booze at Christmas time to those it wanted to influence.
It is noticeable that in the press statements issued by Shell on the subject, it has never admitted its policy of giving out alcohol as festive gifts in Ireland. The new evidence further undermines its denials of such activity.
Shell did not just want to corrupt the police. It also wanted to encourage (buy) positive news coverage for a project dogged by bad publicity.