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€8.5 million Shell slush fund mishandled in Ireland

By John Donovan

The Irish edition of The Sunday Times has published an article reporting that an official audit by a local government auditor has criticised the basis on which a €8.5 million fund, provided by the benevolent energy giant Shell, was handled by Mayo County Council.

What is the appropriate description for such a huge sum lavished on a relatively tiny community in County Mayo? A bribe? A spectacularly generous gift? Hush money? Or compensation for being diddled out of their birthright?

I have chosen to use the term “slush fund” on the basis that it was designed as a propaganda tool aimed at local government and local people to buy support for a highly controversial enterprise.

The sum is, of course, piffling compared to the billions Shell will eventually earn from its investment and role as the lead partner in the project.

The Corrib Gas project, as it is known, has long been the target of environmental protestors and parties who suspect that the Irish government deal in which the God-given windfall of Irish gas reserves was given away for a pittance to big oil, was founded on corruption.

The auditor objected to the way in which the unexpected €8.5 million largess was allocated mainly by staff from Mayo County Council, which generously gave itself €451,000.

The audit was prompted by the redoubtable Maura Harrington – the one women scourge of Shell and long-time spokeswoman for the Shell to Sea campaign.

Shell is responsible for corruption in many countries, including the Nigeria (e.g. the OPL 245 scandal) and the USA. Unfortunately, Shell is a company without scruples. Leaked internal emails show that for financial purposes, Shell executives even considered exploiting the 9/11 terrorist attack. Nothing is too underhand.

With regards to Ireland, Shell’s gifting policy has extended to the Irish Police force. Directors of a Shell contractor OSSL have freely admitted distributing bribes to many parties on behalf of Shell, including the Gardai. Senior police officers kindly helped unload €35,000 worth of free booze while still sober.

The corrupt Irish Police have long been protected by an equally corrupt Irish establishment. Relevant Senior police officers have evaded retribution thus far as a result of cover-ups in successive investigations.

One good indication that what I am saying about Shell corruption in Ireland is true, is that the company has not instigated defamation proceedings against me or OSSL. I challenge them to do so.

One final point. I do not recall Shell ever giving a Nigerian community millions of dollars to mollify objections to Shell’s activities. People living in abject poverty have always been forced to either accept widespread contamination of their environment or sue for damages.

The difference in approach suggests something even more nasty about Shell.

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