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Irish Independent: Protesters try cuffing themselves to lorries

Published: Apr 14, 2007

THE protest at the Shell site escalated yesterday after protesters attempted to handcuff themselves to moving lorries.

Two protesters ran towards lorries taking excavated peat from the Corrib Gas refinery site in Bellanaboy, Co Mayo, with the intention of handcuffing themselves to the vehicles.

But their plans were thwarted by gardai. Officers intervened and prevented a female protester from attaching herself to the wing mirror of a truck as it left the terminal compound.

The handcuffs were confiscated but the protester was not arrested.

Supt Paul Glynn, who was in charge of yesterday’s security operation, said that in a separate incident handcuffs were confiscated from a second, male, protester.

He said there were over 60 protesters at the terminal gates yesterday morning. About one-third of them were by people from “outside the area, intent on making a nuisance of themselves”.

Earlier this month, contractors employed by Shell E&P Ireland (SEPIL) resumed the haulage of peat from the terminal site. The haulage operation has proceeded mostly without incident until now.

As fine weather set in over Easter, Shell contractors began removing the remaining estimated 350,000 tonnes of peat from the terminal area to a deposition site near Bangor Erris, 11km away.

Extra gardai have been on duty in Bellanaboy since peat haulage began.

Some 100,000 cubic metres of bog had been removed last year when the company decided to suspend excavations and haulage in the face of sometimes vehement opposition.

The Shell to Sea protest group expressed disappointment at the resumption of peat haulage “given the fact that so many other issues, such as the route of the online pipeline and water quality in Carrowmore lake, remain unresolved”.

Meanwhile, Shell says it is delighted work has resumed on a project which, the company claims, will eventually supply 60pc of Ireland’s gas needs.

The operation is expected to be completed by October when construction of the onshore gas processing plant will begin.

Tom Shiel

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