Shell Corrib Corruption & Community Complaints
That these events go almost universally unreported by the Irish media is a great hindrance to that justice being secured, but your website’s ongoing work in exposing the wrongdoing of Shell and it’s agents worldwide is a vitally important one. Rest assured, the most recent events on the subject of the Corrib Gas project are being closely watched – and acted upon – by many people on the west coast of Ireland and beyond, and together we can expose the corruption that far too many are trying their best to ignore.
Corrib Corruption & Community Complaints
By JM (long-time Shell watcher)
Your recent posting on the Corrib controversy concludes with a point about Irish citizens apparently not raising a fuss over the whole situation, and the latest allegations/revelations in particular.
Living with the ongoing project, many in the local community have had cause to report a multitude of matters to various bodies and State agencies during the course of the last dozen years or so. There are two recurring themes in all such cases: (1) an abuse of process/standards by Shell and/or it’s agents, and (2) a total lack of action/accountability for Shell and/or the agents supposedly “responsible” for the abuse.
The complaints range from the relatively mild (poor consultation, breaches of pollution limits) right through to the atrocious (threats of rape and attempted murder) but the response is almost always the same… it’s someone else’s problem.
A few examples. When it was discovered that a diesel spill at the refinery site was leaking into the Bellanaboy river, the Environmental Protection Agency was contacted. After initially showing great concern and interest in the situation, on hearing the location was part of the Corrib Gas development the EPA immediately backtracked, and said it was a matter for Mayo County Council. When Mayo County Council were approached, no-one was available to investigate. The Gardai (police) then intervened and prevented people from taking water samples until the following day, after a hasty clean-up was initiated. No action was taken by MCC.
After dozens of people were man-handled by Shell’s unidentifiable “security” workers on a public beach at Glengad (proposed offshore pipeline landfall) the Gardai were informed, but they refused to take statements of complaint and – when pressed – instead told people to contact the Private Security Authority. When the PSA were contacted they said they would only take action in the event of a criminal conviction secured by the Gardai. To date, no case has ever been taken by Gardai against security violence on the Corrib project towards members of the public (including hospitalisations) even when witnessed by Garda members.
When it was discovered that Shell had illegally installed and operated a septic tank discharging into a Special Area of Conservation at a compound in Rossport, Mayo County Council officials were informed, and a site inspection was arranged. In spite of the obvious physical evidence, MCC took no action.
When Shell workers used an excavator as a battering ram against neighbours preventing trespass onto private property in Pollathomas, Gardai committed criminal damage, trespass and multiple assaults on the public to force the workers through. Subsequent complaints to the Gardai, the Health & Safety Authority and the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission were passed between those authorities and eventually all washed their hands of the affair. No action taken.
There are many other examples, such as Shell’s illegal drilling in a Special Area of Conservation (no sanctions); illegal road built through the same SAC (no prosecution); damage to and theft of fishing gear (no action taken); deliberate sinking of a trawler near offshore pipeline works (no investigation); EPA disallowing Oral Hearing questions as planning matters, then the planning authority (An Bord Pleanala) disallowing the same questions as EPA licensing matters; the list could go on and on.
There is what can perhaps best be described as a grotesque version of pass-the-parcel going on. Everyone knows that there is something unpleasant inside the box, but it keeps getting passed around in the knowledge that the music will never stop (at least, not while the current participants are in the room) and all the while Shell’s taboo Corrib project – and associated abuses – continue unchecked.
To say that people have lost faith in the authorities is a gross understatement, but in spite of all this complaints are still lodged and due process followed, and people still await justice.
That these events go almost universally unreported by the Irish media is a great hindrance to that justice being secured, but your website’s ongoing work in exposing the wrongdoing of Shell and it’s agents worldwide is a vitally important one.
Rest assured, the most recent events on the subject of the Corrib Gas project are being closely watched – and acted upon – by many people on the west coast of Ireland and beyond, and together we can expose the corruption that far too many are trying their best to ignore.
(long-time Shell watcher)