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Boat sinking claim denied

The Sunday Times

July 5, 2009
Mark Tighe

The head of the security firm employed by Shell at Glengad beach has dismissed allegations by two prominent protesters that his staff were involved in an assault or sank a boat.

Jim Farrell, a director of IRMS security, said he could not believe claims made by both Willie Corduff, one of the Rossport Five, and Pat O’Donnell, a Shell to Sea campaigner.

Corduff alleges that masked men beat him on the morning of April 23 after he lay under a truck near Glengad. He has refused to make a statement to gardai.

Farrell said gardai decided to leave Corduff under the truck after an attempt to forcibly remove him failed. At about 11.15pm on the same night, masked protesters gained access to the Shell site and used a digger to cause damage.

At 4am Farrell said he approached the truck to remove Corduff. “We got there and he was standing up,” Farrell said. He claims Corduff was taken away by ambulance complaining of chest pains. “It was a trouble-free exercise.”

The IRMS boss said Corduff’s story was similar to O’Donnell’s account last month of masked men sinking his boat. O’Donnell denies sinking it himself.

Farrell distanced his firm from the controversy around former employees who became involved with an alleged plot to assassinate Evo Morales, the Bolivian president. Michael Dwyer from Tipperary was shot dead by Bolivian police earlier this year.

Ciaran Ó Murchú , a spokesman for anti-pipeline group Pobal Le Chéile, said “gardai have shown they are not independent enough” to investigate either Corduff’s or O’Donnell’s complaints.

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