Thursday, 7 April 2011
Richard 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?