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The Mayo News: Gardaí to be investigated

Tuesday, 08 May 2007 
Áine Ryan

THE GARDA Ombudsman Commission is due to begin work tomorrow, May 9, on a series of complaints about Garda behaviour over recent months during clashes at the proposed Corrib gas refinery in Bellanaboy.

The Garda Complaints Board has confirmed that three senior officers will investigate the 16 complaints, filed by 15 individuals in relation to alleged incidents involving over 20 gardaí. 

The majority of the complaints will be dealt with by Det Supt Michael Jackson, but Garda Commissioner Noel Conroy has also appointed Chief Supt Paul Hargadon of Garda Headquarters and Chief Supt Gerry Mahon, head of the Clare division, to investigate two complaints that relate to Supt Joe Gannon of Belmullet Garda Station.

Last week Supt Gannon told The Irish Times that he was ‘happy to let due process take its course’ in relation to the complaints. Supt Gannon has supervised security for Shell staff and contractors since work resumed at the Corrib gas refinery on October 3 last.

The Minister for Justice, Michael McDowell confirmed in the Dáil recently, in answer to a question by Dr Jerry Cowley TD,  that the total cost of the operation since last October, involving up to 150 gardaí, was € 5.4 million, to mid-April.

On November 10 last, during a National Day of Solidarity, there were serious clashes, involving batons being drawn, between gardaí and protestors. During the protest eight people, including four gardaí, were injured, and one north Mayo resident, Mr Ed Collins, who was hospitalised, is still on crutches. It has also emerged that three summonses were recently issued against three Erris residents, and gardaí in Mayo have said further summonses are pending.

The complaints could take over a year to reach referral to the Garda Complaints Board level.
 

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