News Irish News

Wednesday 19 June 2019

Gardai deny gas firm gave them alcohol worth €35k

Paul Melia

Paul Melia

GARDAI have rejected claims that officers policing the Corrib Gas protests were given alcohol worth €35,000 by the company building the pipeline.

An oil services company has claimed it delivered the alcohol in an unmarked van to Belmullet garda station in Mayo at Christmas 2007 following instructions by Shell E&P Ltd.

And OSSL, based in Bangor Erris, also claims it was charged with providing "accommodation services" to local residents, including home improvements, tennis courts, donating kitchen appliances and paying school fees.

The company, which worked with Shell since 2002, had its contract terminated in 2010, and claims it is owed money by Shell E&P Ltd.

Owner Desmond Kane told a British newspaper that Shell had "failed to reimburse" the alcohol bill, but has since settled with the company.

Neither Mr Kane nor Shell could not be reached for comment yesterday.

But Mr Kane told the 'Observer' newspaper that in Christmas 2007, his company delivered alcohol worth €35,000 to Belmullet garda station, where the policing operation was based.

The alcohol was purchased in Northern Ireland, and delivered in an unmarked van.

In a statement, the Garda Press Office rejected the claim, saying it had investigated the allegation but no evidence was found to substantiate it.

"On the December 7, 2011, allegations were made to the district officer at Belmullet, that alcohol was distributed to members of An Garda Siochana on behalf of Shell E & P," it said.

"Enquiries conducted in relation to these allegations found no evidence of alcohol being distributed to members of An Garda Siochana by, or on behalf of, Shell E & P."

For more than a decade, some local residents have opposed plans by the oil and gas giant to bring ashore gas from the Corrib gas field, discovered in 1996.

SEABED

The field is located some 80km offshore the north-west coast, and is about 3km beneath the seabed.

Some groups claim the onshore pipeline is dangerous, and that the gas should be processed offshore, which Shell says is not technically possible.

The field is estimated to have a lifespan of up to 20 years, and will supply up to 60pc of the country's needs when operating at peak.

Protester Maura Harrington called for a public inquiry into the allegations to be conducted by international experts, saying an internal investigation was not sufficient.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News