News Irish News

Friday 19 October 2018

Shell 'bomb' suspect tracked by city CCTV

Gardai hunt down teenager after stroll across capital's streets

MAEVE SHEEHAN

A TEENAGER arrested last week by gardai investigating a home made bomb planted outside Shell Ireland's headquarters in Dublin was linked to the scene by closed circuit television cameras.

The CCTV images track a man allegedly resembling the youth from the vicinity of the oil company's Leeson Street headquarters, across the city to his home in north Dublin.

Gardai believe the device was planted in September in protest at Shell Ireland's controversial plans for bringing gas ashore on the North Mayo coast. The "bomb" was fashioned from an empty Cidona bottle filled with petrol, attached to a clock and a can of paint and left in a carrier bag outside Shell's headquarters in September. It didn't go off as it wasn't rigged.

At the time, Shell Ireland described the planting of the device as a sinister development. Shell to Sea and local protest groups denied having anything to do with it. Detectives suspect that who ever planted the device was probably acting alone, according to a garda source.

The youth was arrested last week, along with three adults, while the home of James Monaghan, a prominent republican and one of the so-called "Colombia Three" was searched. Gardai sealed off the house in Killester when they found a suspect device. The army bomb disposal team later found the device to be a hoax. Mr Monaghan, a former IRA bomber, was not among those arrested.

The investigation comes as the garda commissioner revealed that the cost of policing Rossport had escalated to more than €11m, more than half the budget allocated to fight organised crime in Ireland.

The Minister for Justice, Dermot Ahern, is understood to be furious at the massive garda overtime bill at a time of budget cutbacks, according to a department source. Mr Ahern cut the garda overtime budget by €20m for next year, as a result of new constraints, while the gardai's Operation Anvil, targeting organised crime, was increased by €1m to €21m.

He believes the €11m spent on policing the protests at Rossport could be better diverted into fighting gangland criminals such as those behind the murder last weekend of Shane Geoghegan, a Limerick rugby player, gunned down in a shocking case of mistaken identity.

The Justice Minister at one time considered asking Shell Ireland to share the enormous costs of policing the protests. That proposal has been ruled out on foot of legal advice that Shell is entitled to expect garda protection of its property and workers during times of protest.

The Rossport policing costs arose from overtime, subsistence and accommodation expenses paid to up to 250 extra gardai who are drafted in to Rossport, north Mayo, for demonstrations and protests. Normally about 30 gardai are assigned to police the district in Mayo.

The cost of securing the Corrib project continues to rise. The huge €11m outlay was calculated in August and does not cover the escalating protests in August and September as Shell attempted to start laying the pipe along the sea bed.

The Naval Service had three vessels in the area at different times, while the Garda Water Unit was also deployed to patrol Broadhaven Bay.

The controversial gas pipeline has been the source of continued dispute between locals and Shell Ireland since 2003. The Government set up a new forum a fortnight ago, with the aim of eliminating the need for gardai. The new forum is headed by Joe Brosnan, a former secretary general of the Department of Justice. Past attempts at mediation failed to resolve the differences.

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News