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Clare Daly says gardaí at Corrib gas site are the “hired hands" of Shell

The Taoiseach said that it was “professional” protestors who had “caused the trouble”.

Clare Daly (File photo)
Clare Daly (File photo)
Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

Updated: 10pm

INDEPENDENT TD CLARE DALY has backed the call for an independent inquiry into the policing of the Corrib gas project in Co Mayo.

range of individuals and organisations including politicians, human rights organisations, garda whistleblowers, academics and activists are supporting the call for a public inquiry.

Speaking in the Dáil this afternoon, Daly said that the “continued intimidation and harassment of the local community” by Shell needed to be investigated.

Enda Kenny stated that the alleged harassment was not being reported by local people, adding that he knew “most” of them.

“Imported serial protestors caused the trouble,” he said.

The Taoiseach claimed that some of the group had travelled from abroad to “give vent to their professional hysterical screeches”.

He said that their behaviour has cost the taxpayer €20-25 million in overtime payments for members of an Garda Síochána.

Daly claimed that certain gardaí monitoring the project were acting as “hired hands for a multinational” and “arresting people without charge”.

Kenny admitted that the Corrib project was “badly handled in the beginning”.

Were you to do things again you might do them very differently or some things not at all.

However, he noted that the pipeline has created about 2,000 jobs that had in many ways “shielded” the area from the recession.

Scholarships

Kenny stated that Shell was working “with local communities in so many areas” and had provided scholarship funds for young people.

He said he welcomed the news that “gas should flow from the Corrib field within the next six months or so”.

Yesterday, a number of groups noted that they had sent 111 complaints to the Garda Ombudsman between May 2007 and November 2009, 78 of which were deemed admissible and seven sent to the DPP. The DPP rejected prosecution in all seven cases.

In 2012, residents submitted a mass complaint to Mayo County Council, outlining alleged serious grievances arising out of the project, including claims of experiences of private security and state policing. The groups said that the complaints did not amount to any action being taken.

Billy Bunter

On the subject of inquiries, Daly described the banking inquiry as “toothless” and said it is “not going to achieve anything except a bit of publicity” for politicians.

She remarked that it was like “asking Billy Bunter who robbed the school tuck shop – it’s a joke.”

Kenny replied by saying that the inquiry was “free of any direction from government”, much to the amusement of the Opposition benches.

ff laughing jun 17 Fianna Fáil TDs Source: Oireachtas TV

Originally published: 5.42pm

Read: Shell to Sea calls for public inquiry into the policing of Corrib gas project

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Órla Ryan

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