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Irish Independent: Protester injured in Shell site incident

Oct 14, 2006

A LEADING Shell-To-Sea protester who was injured when gardai tried to prevent demonstrators from blocking a road last night accused officers of being heavy-handed.

Campaigner Maura Harrington suffered a head injury as the early morning blockade at the entrance to the Bellanaboy refinery site in Co Mayo.

She fell to the ground and hit her head as around 30 gardai moved in to prevent protesters from blocking the road.

Ms Harrington was treated at the scene by fellow protester and Independent TD Dr Jerry Cowley before being taken to Castlebar Hospital suffering from concussion.

Protesters then chose to hold a peaceful demonstration, avoiding the angry scenes of earlier in the week where they clashed with gardai during sit-down protests and were physically removed from the road.

Workers began to enter the site shortly before 8am.

Speaking from hospital, Ms Harrington accused gardai of heavy-handed tactics.

“I was just going forward toward the police and one of the police pushed me without any warning and literally sent me flying,” she claimed.

She vowed to return to the site and continue the 10-day picket.

“We will be there on Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday and I will be there for as long as it takes.”

The Garda press office said they were not aware of any complaint against officers.

Ed Carty

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