The justice and human rights group Action from Ireland (Afri) has condemned the actions of Shell and the Gardai in Erris, County Mayo, over the bungled transport of tunnelling equipment for a controversial gas pipeline that has seen roads closed in the area and local people arrested, and has re-iterated its call for suspension of the project.
Afri coordinator Joe Murray said that the latest incident “represents a continuation of the long established trend whereby the health and safety of local residents has been jeopardised to boost the profits of a multinational corporation”.
“If Shell are not to be trusted to carry a piece of equipment by lorry, then how can they be trusted to transport raw, flammable gas by pipeline under an estuary and past people’s homes?”, Mr Murray asked.
Mr Murray particularly criticised the arrest yesterday of local farmer Willie Corduff for his protest at the chaos caused by the fact that a lorry carrying Shell’s tunnelling equipment had jack knifed and blocked road traffic. “Instead of charging Shell with reckless endangerment, the Gardai chose to arrest a man doing nothing more than peacefully safeguarding the welfare of his family and friends”, Mr Murray said. Mr Corduff, the winner of the prestigious Goldman Medal which is often described as the environmental Nobel Prize, was later released without charge.
Afri has previously been highly critical of the policing of the Corrib Gas dispute and has pointed to what it says were abuses perpetrated even against human rights monitors. Afri is calling for immediate suspension of all work on the project pending a thorough review of all aspects of it, including human rights, health and safety and environmental impact. Afri pointed to Shell’s much criticized environmental and human rights record in many locations throughout the world, from the Niger Delta to, more recently, the Arctic Circle, as further evidence for the need to review and revise the Corrib project in its entirety.
Rights Group Criticises Shell and Garda over Traffic Blockage: Irish Times, 7th August 2012: http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2012/0807/1224321631080.html