Irish News

Thursday 31 July 2014

Trouble in the pipeline over Ryan's Shell protest

The photo that the minister in charge of gas project might not care to see

Jim Cusack

Published 17/05/2009|00:00

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CONFLICTED: Minister for Energy & Natural Resources Eamon Ryan, centre, on the rally in 2005 when he was an opposition TD

This is a picture that Energy Minister Eamon Ryan, responsible for bringing Ireland's Corrib gas project into production, might not care to see published.

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It shows Mr Ryan, who currently holds the portfolio of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, taking part in a Shell to Sea protest in 2005, beside Sinn Fein Dublin Councillor Daithi Doolan and Green Party general secretary Colm O Caomhanaigh.

Mr Ryan, along with Gaeltacht Minister Eamon O Cuiv, has been accused by supporters of the gas project -- vital to energy needs -- of being "soft" on the at-times criminal, abusive and threatening "protesters".

Only last week, an incident described as "horrendous" by gardai was uploaded on to YouTube. It depicts vile abuse hurled by a female Shell to Sea protester in Mayo, in which she clearly refers to the death of Garda Robert McCallion, who died from injuries after being struck by a stolen car in Donegal last month.

Video footage of the woman screaming that gardai and security staff should be "run into a wall", a reference to the manner of Garda McCallion's death, is being examined by gardai to see if it constitutes a criminal offence.

They have identified the woman as the sister of one of the Shell to Sea leaders. Her identity has been confirmed to the Sunday Independent by three separate sources.

The images on YouTube record the woman screaming: "You should be ashamed of yourselves you dirty things. It's a pity the Letterkenny boys don't come down and run into them. A few more of you should be run into the wall."

Garda McCallion died from injuries he received when a stolen car pinned him to a wall on April 7 last.

The woman also shouts at security guards: "You have no rights you f**king animals you," along with other incomprehensible obscenities.

Among abuse hurled at the security staff by other protesters was a rant that the Provisional IRA didn't kill "half enough" Englishman. The verbal attack is directed at one of the security men who has an English accent though he has lived in Mayo for years.

When the protesters hear his accent, one of them shouts: ""He's a f**king Black and Tan." Another joins in shouting: "You f**king Black and Tan c**t yee. The IRA didn't kill half enough of yee c**ts in the North."

Mr Ryan was a prominent Shell to Sea campaigner and a vocal critic of the Corrib gas project before he went into government. And now he has responsibility for the project.

At their National Convention in 2007, the Greens adopted a resolution that, in government, they would not sign a pipeline consent for the Corrib gas project until "a full, independent review" had been conducted into the project.

The party even had a message up on their party website in December 2005, stating that they were urging "all members of the Green Party... to support and join the Shell to Sea campaign".

"Members of the Green Party are urged to support and join the Shell to Sea campaign, which campaigns against the proposed Shell gas refinery in the Erris region of Co Mayo and is pressing for the gas to be refined at sea," the message added.

It also went on to say: "The Green Party TDs and members have been very active in opposing Shell's Corrib gas project and supported the Rossport Five in their courageous stand against the company. We must continue our efforts in support of this campaign, which has every chance of success."

Mr Ryan also said at the time: "I have serious concerns that the government constantly took Shell's side throughout this process."

And in November 2002, Mr Ryan rhetorically asked: "The real question which must be asked about this gas field project is this -- is the Royal Dutch Shell deal a good deal for Mayo, and a good deal for the Irish taxpayer?"

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