Dáil debates

Thursday, 7 April 2011

4:00 pm

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)

There is something very wrong with how the gardaí are behaving in the Rossport area and with how they are allowing private security companies that are working for Shell Oil to treat protestors. When I submitted this question it was on the basis of reports that IRMS, a private security company working for Shell, was putting up checkpoints on main roads and vetting traffic that was going past in the interests of Shell. Since then we have had the shocking episode where two young protestors were arrested and subjected to obscene language by two gardaí, who talked about the possibility of raping young women in their custody. This comes on top of years of similar reports to the Garda Ombudsman, most of which have been dismissed, of physical assaults of protestors and reports of attacks on those involved in the protests by masked men.

This is a serious situation. Human rights organisations from all over the world that have gone to Mayo have expressed extreme concern about the behaviour of gardaí and private security companies in the area. While we cannot judge from this point the exact rights and wrongs of the case, I ask the Minister to accede to the requests of people in the Erris and Rossport area for an international, independent inquiry to look at policing and the activities of private security companies employed by Shell in the area and how they are treating peaceful protestors campaigning against the attempt to force a pipeline through their land and the taking of gas resources off the west coast. Is it not time for an independent, international investigation?


Lucy Bingham McAndrew
Posted on 9 Apr 2011 7:59 am (Report this comment)

This is exactly the point, Richard. There certainly might be people at the protests who engage in more extreme behaviour, in the sense of 'monkeywrenching'- that is, attacking property. But I have lived here throughout the protests and not once have I heard of protesters attacking human beings. Their behaviour has been provoked in the extreme by the reaction of, in particular, private security personnel, who do classic 'dehumanising' (in the same vein that the garda statement, 'that crusty camp' quickly dehumanises anyone involved). The approach from the beginning has been utterly and absurdly confrontational. Has nothing been learnt from conflicting ideologies in the North? Jaw, Jaw, Jaw is better than war, war, war.

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