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Rossport protesters under 24-hour surveillance by private security firm

Friday, August 10, 2012

LORNA SIGGINS, Western Correspondent

OPPONENTS OF the Corrib gas project in north Mayo are seeking legal advice on a communication that indicates the Rossport solidarity camp is under 24-hour surveillance by a private security company.

The communication involves a “situation report” that documents movements at the protest camp in late June.

The solidarity camp, initially established at Rossport in 2005, is pitched on private land at Aughoose – one of two locations for the final part of the Corrib gas pipeline, along Sruwadaccon estuary, a special area of conservation.

Integrated Risk Management Services (I-RMS) the company employed by Shell EP Ireland and Corrib gas developers to provide security at the work sites, said it would make no comment on the issue yesterday.

A Rossport solidarity camp spokesman said the camp already had issues with the security company in that it did not respond to data protection requests made in 2009 and late 2011 for information or video footage recorded at Corrib gas protests. On this point the security company said it noted a communication received in 2009 but had no record of any subsequent request .

The report by “Aughoose Command and Control Centre” comprised a timeline of movements on June 29th, 2012, which was preceded by a summary of information given by security staff during a shift “change-over” at 7am on that day. No names were recorded, but the report stated 11 people were in the camp at that time (7am), and identified four vehicles parked on the roadside, describing these as “known” and giving their make. It then recorded details of movements from 10.30am, beginning with “(1) cyclist left the camp in the Glengad direction”.

Details of movements were listed with times recorded at 11.03, 13.59, 15.30, 16.04, 16.17 and 16.54. At another shift change at 18.45 on the same day, the report stated there were five people in the camp and identified two vehicles parked on the roadside. Six more movements between 19.09 and 23.00 were listed, and 12 people at the camp and four identified vehicles parked on the roadside were recorded at 7am.

The report provided headings for “known protesters” and “known local protesters”, but these spaces were left blank.

It is understood the report was inadvertently forwarded to a non-company email address, following its circulation among a group of 10 email addresses on June 30th last. Two retired members of the Garda Síochána were listed among the 10 on the circulation list – former superintendent Pat Doyle, who works for I-RMS as part of the Senaca Group, and former chief superintendent and head of the Mayo Garda division John Carey, who was hired by Shell EP Ireland in 2006.

UCD law lecturer TJ McIntyre, chairman of the independent civil liberties group Digital Rights Ireland, said without the full facts it is impossible to say whether either an offence or a breach of data protection law may have taken place.


Comment by John Donovan

During an interview on Dublin Newstalk radio in August 2005 with Mick Clifford, we discussed three predictions I had made:


Mick: John on your website you have three predictions in relation to the Corrib gas field that you made at the beginning of this development… you suggested that the project would turn into a PR disaster for Shell… I think that’s certainly come true…  you also predicted that the Irish government would turn on Shell… now I don’t know if that’s the case… but you also said that Shell would probably use undercover agents to gather intelligence and engage in other sinister activities against the protest group… what basis do you have for predicting that?

John Donovan: Its based on a pattern of undercover activity against other groups that have protested against Shell… In Nigeria and elsewhere… Our own background is that we have been involved is a series for disputes with Shell over the last decade… we’ve sued them in the High Court six times and what we didn’t.

Mick: why John…

John Donovan: pardon… we were running a sales promotion agency we worked for Shell for a decade… had a very successful relationship with them and then a new Shell management came on board that took a different stance towards its suppliers… they were very ruthless people… and we found to put it bluntly that they were stealing ideas that we had put to them in confidence… and launching them themselves and we did not take very kindly to that so we tried to talk to them and come to out of court settlements but we ended up actually issuing proceedings… and Shell has paid us several hundred thousand in damages over the years… but it has been a very difficult struggle because what we didn’t anticipate was that we would be faced with undercover activity…

Mick: Could you give us an example John of that type of…?

John Donovan:  Yes… well it started of… we had many threats from Shell… to make the litigation drawn out and difficult because they wanted to drain the financial resources of a weaker opponent… and then we actually caught red-handed someone rifling through private mail at out offices and they presented fake credentials – a business card for a company which did not exist and eventually we managed to corner Shell… their Legal Director Richard Wiseman… into admitting that this was an undercover agent working for them…


Shell Global Affairs Security “CAS”) is spying on Shell employees globally trying to trace who is visiting, posting, or leaking information to this website from Shell premises. Threats, including death threats, have allegedly been made against conscience driven Shell whistleblowers supplying me with information. The Irish Police have been investigating the threats for some time. I note that some senior former Irish Police officers have been recruited by Shell spies.


Daily Telegraph: Shell ordered to dismantle pipeline: “The Irish government yesterday ordered Shell to dismantle a gas pipeline that has sparked protests in County Mayo.”: “Shell has suspended its £605m project to link the Corrib gas field to an onshore refinery.”: “The pipeline has become a major public relations disaster for Shell, which admitted at its half-year results last week that it needed to drastically improve its project management.”: Tuesday 2 August 2005: Read the article

The Times (UK): Shell ordered to dismantle pipeline: SHELL became embroiled in legal tangles over its Corrib gas project yesterday when an Irish minister ordered the company to dismantle a three-kilometre section of pipeline.”: “The regulatory confusion adds to Shell’s difficulties in Ireland…: Tuesday 2 August 2005: Read the article



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