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Irish police say 15 masked men ransack Shell pipeline project, smash security fences

Washington Examiner

By: SHAWN POGATCHNIK 
Associated Press
06/20/09 7:10 PM EDT

DUBLIN — About 15 masked men armed with steel bars, chains and nail-studded clubs ransacked a Shell pipeline site, police said Thursday, in the latest trouble for Ireland’s most controversial energy project.

The vandals smashed security fences Wednesday shortly before midnight and forced unarmed guards on duty to retreat. One guard suffered an arm injury when struck by a steel pipe, according to Ireland’s national police force.

Shell has spent four years battling opponents of the project in both the courts and on the ground in rural County Mayo, where the global energy giant has government permission to pump natural gas from an untapped field 80 kilometers (50 miles) out in the Atlantic.

Opponents claim the project threatens to destroy the environment of the sparsely populated and remote coastline, and have argued that Shell should fully refine the natural gas off shore — an option Shell and other experts say would be more difficult and dangerous. Instead, Shell is building a refinery 9 kilometers (5 miles) inland.

The masked raiders on Wednesday night targeted the spot where the pipeline comes ashore. Shell renewed pipe-laying efforts there earlier this month.

Police said the raiders hot-wired a construction vehicle and used it to smash perimeter fencing and a security hut. A truck also was vandalized.

The gang fled before police arrived Thursday morning, and no arrests were reported.

It was the first time a paramilitary-style gang has attacked a Shell site in Ireland.

Previously, Shell opponents have staged hunger strikes, sit-down protests on roads approaching the refinery site, and gone to prison for ignoring court orders. Ireland’s police at times have deployed more than 200 officers to the remote site to clear roads of protesters and protect construction workers.

Ireland currently is heavily dependent on imported energy, including nuclear-generated electricity from Britain. Much of its homegrown energy generation comes from burning bricks of bog soil called peat, a policy also criticized by environmentalists as destructive and polluting.

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On the Net:

Shell’s Corrib Field site, http://tinyurl.com/c6ppn8

Anti-Shell protesters, http://www.corribsos.com/

SOURCE ARTICLE

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1 Comment on “Irish police say 15 masked men ransack Shell pipeline project, smash security fences”

  1. #1 Paddy Briggs
    on Jun 21st, 2009 at 12:00

    Whatever our views on the merits, or otherwise, of Corrib I am sure that we will all condemn this mindless violence.

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