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Irish Independent: Protesters injured in clash with gardai

Published: Jan 20, 2007

SOME of the worst physical confrontations so far between gardai and protesters in the Corrib Gas dispute took place yesterday.

The clashes happened when protesters fought with gardai near the entrance to the site of the processing terminal at Bellanaboy, Co Mayo.

A number of protesters were injured and had to receive medical treatment locally as well as at the A&E unit of Mayo General Hospital after what gardai described as “aggressive confrontations” as a convoy of vehicles carrying Shell contractors made their way to the site.

Last night, Shell to Sea accused the gardai of using excessive force and said complaints would be made to the Garda Complaints Board about the behaviour of individual officers.

A spokesman for Chief Supt Tony McNamara, head of the Mayo Garda Division, however, denied the allegations of heavy handedness and complained that the scuffles had started when the protesters attacked a garda, pulled him into their group, and attempted to throw him over a bridge.

“Naturally, our officers went to the man’s assistance and a number of gardai were assaulted,” said the spokesman.

“Some had their uniforms torn. One of our sergeants was pushed in front of a bus and he was hit by the vehicle. Luckily he was not seriously injured in the incident.”

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