Monday, May 11, 2009

Shell must cease their work in Mayo – Garda assaults must be investigated

Sligo éirígí activist Gerry Casey has called for an immediate halt to all work by Shell Oil on their refinery in North Mayo and has claimed that the only credible solution to the Corrib gas dispute is the nationalisation of our natural resources off the coast of Mayo and elsewhere. He also called for an independent public inquiry into the many abuses, including serious assaults which he personally witnessed, carried out by the Gardai acting as enforcers for Shell at Glengad.

Casey was speaking following a Day of Action at Glengad, north Mayo, organised to show support to the local community and to remove illegal fencing erected by Shell as they attempt to complete their refinery. Casey was among the large numbers of people who took part in the protests, which included éirígí activists from the north west and other areas of the country. At least six protesters were arrested while others were assaulted by Gardai. At least one demonstrator was left bleeding after being assaulted by Gardai.

Casey said: “What Shell, with the collusion of the Gardai and their political masters, are doing in north Mayo is wrong and must be stopped. All work should be halted immediately so that an acceptable solution can be reached.”

He added: “The reality is that the nationalisation of our natural resources in the Corrib gas field and elsewhere is the only viable solution to this dispute. It is not too late for the Fianna Fáil led administration to take the massive amount of gas reserves currently at the mercy of Shell’s greed back under state control and to utilise its wealth for the benefit of the Irish people instead of lining Shell’s pockets. This would also enable all the genuine environmental concerns of the local community to be addressed in a proper manner.”

“The wealth generated should be utilised to provide investment in efficient and effective health and education systems for all and to end fuel poverty. At a time when savage cuts are being inflicted on our health and education services, with nurses and other essential front line staff being laid off, hospital wards being closed and special needs classes being scrapped, this administration has ran out of excuses for refusing to put an end to the shameful giveaway of our natural resources. They must nationalise our valuable and much needed natural resources starting with the Corrib Gas Field.”

Calling for an independent public inquiry into the many abuses carried out by the Gardai acting as Shells bully-boys and enforcers in north Mayo, he said: “The countless abuses, including physical assaults, which campaigners claim that Gardai and Shell security employees have inflicted on protestors must be thoroughly examined. What the local community have witnessed in recent times, and what I witnessed in person today, has been unjustified arrests and unprovoked assaults on peaceful demonstrators. The one thing the local community have not witnessed here has been justice.”

He concluded: “An independent public inquiry must be established as a matter of urgency to investigate these matters fully and to secure justice for the local community. It is not acceptable that they think they can assault and intimidate peaceful protestors like they did on Saturday and get away with it. The Gardai must be brought to account for their abuses.”

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