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IrelandOnline: Gardaí worried about arresting gas refinery protesters, claim campaigners

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11/10/2006 – 16:28:01 

Protesters who stormed the Irish headquarters of oil giant Shell today questioned why gardaí won’t arrest them.

Demonstrators opposed to the construction of an onshore Corrib gas refinery at Bellanaboy, Co Mayo, occupied the company’s Dublin offices at lunchtime.

Seven people from the Shell to Sea campaign got into the lobby of the building, Corrib House, while six more climbed onto the foyer roof.

Around 30 more protesters gathered outside holding placards and chanting slogans for the hour-long demonstration, marshalled by around a dozen gardai.

Organiser Tadhg McGrath said he personally asked the Garda inspector in charge if they had broken any laws and would they face any action, but received no answer.

“It seems to us that the Guards are reticent about arresting people and the courts are reticent about using injunctions because of what happened with the Rossport Five last year,” he said.

“They’re worried it will actually help the campaign, rather than hinder us. There’s no shortage of people willing to be arrested for this.”

A Garda spokesman would only confirm there were no arrests and declined to say why, or if there were any public order breaches or whether any action would be taken over the protest.

Mr McGrath said it was the campaigners intention to bring wider attention to the ongoing controversy about the planned pipeline and terminal.

“I think people can sometimes get confused and think that this is a local issue and it’s nothing to do with them, because they’re in Dublin, Cork, Galway or even London.

“But if this scheme goes ahead, if Shell get away with this, they’re taking away all the oil and gas that rightfully belongs to the Irish people, and all the money that it generates goes to Shell alone,” he said.

He claimed the onshore technology being used was new, untried, experimental and dangerous.

“This isn’t a matter of not in my back yard – nobody wants this. Nobody in the world wants an onshore refinery. It could be done safely, and cheaply offshore like it’s done everywhere else in the world.

“Shell just want to make more profits. They think they can make a precedent here because we have a weak and supine Irish government,” he added.

 

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