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Garda bill for Corrib stand-off hits €14m

TAXPAYERS have forked out almost €14m towards the cost of providing a policing operation at the controversial Corrib gas pipeline project.

Extra gardai have been on duty in the north Mayo area for more than five years because of demonstrations and protests against the Shell project by a small group of locals, backed by outside groups.

A breakdown of the costs has been compiled by the garda authorities and published by Justice Minister Dermot Ahern.

This shows that the garda operation between August 2005 and the end of last month has cost a total of €13.918m.

This does not include basic salaries and is made up of €8.8m in overtime and allowances, €4.4m in travel and subsistence, €449,000 in employer's PRSI and €269,000 in miscellaneous expenses.

The costs for this year are well down on the past couple of years when the protests were at their height and resulted in violent clashes.

Eight people were arrested at Glengad after protesters tried to pull down fencing around the Shell property.

Six of them were from outside Co Mayo. More than 100 protesters turned up for a "peace camp" in preparation for the arrival of the pipelaying ship, 'Solitaire'.

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