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Over €16 million spent on policing protests against Corrib gas pipeline

The figure, not including the salaries of gardaí at the protests in North Mayo, was disclosed by Alan Shatter in the Dáil yesterday.

Gardaí and protesters at Shell Bellanabo Gas refinery in Co Mayo
Gardaí and protesters at Shell Bellanabo Gas refinery in Co Mayo
Image: Niall Carson/PA Archive/Press Association Images

OVER €1.5 MILLION has been spent policing protests at the controversial Shell refinery project in north Mayo since February 2012, it has emerged.

Justice Minister Alan Shatter informed the Dáil yesterday that the total cost of policing at the site of the Corrib gas pipeline has now reached “in excess of €16 million” not including the cost of basic salaries of garda members deployed to the area.

Campaigners from the Shell to Sea organisation have been protesting against the construction of the Corrib gas pipeline for the past seven years.

Shatter, who has previously described the protests as “scandalous”, told the Dáil yesterday: “It is deeply regrettable that so much Garda resources have had to be tied up at the north Mayo site.

“However, this is absolutely necessary in view of the actions of some of the protestors, many of whom, as I have said previously in respect of the matter, are not from the area and who have engaged in acts of public disorder as well as damage to property.”

He said that the gardaí have consistently stated that they are only concerned with the prevention of public order offences despite accusations of facilitating the interests of Shell over the concerns of local residents.

Shatter also said that the recent allegations that gardaí were supplied with a large quantity of alcohol by a company working for Shell are being investigated by the Garda Ombudsman and it would not be appropriate for him to comment further.

Last August a Glasgow based company OSSL, which procured materials and services for Shell, claimed in The Observer newspaper that it delivered €35,000 worth of alcohol, which came from Northern Ireland, to Belmullet Garda Station in December 2007.

In a statement, gardaí said that allegations were made to the district officer at Belmullet in 2011, that alcohol was distribute to officers on behalf of Shell but said that inquiries found “no evidence” of this.

Read: Garda Ombudsman to investigate Shell ‘booze bribes’ allegations

Previously: Over €14.5m spent in policing protests against Corrib gas pipeline

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Hugh O'Connell

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