There have been calls for an independent inquiry into allegations that alcohol was distributed to Gardai and gifts handed out to residents on behalf of Shell’s contentious pipeline and refinery project in northwest County Mayo.
In an article for the Guardian newspaper, Glasgow based company OSSL, which procured materials and services for Shell, said it was asked to provide the booze as well as a litany of other handouts to those who had lent their support to the environmentally destructive project.
Among the items it was tasked with providing were “a tennis court, cookers, television sets, agricultural equipment, school fees, home improvements, garden centre visits, forestry equipment” in order to keep ‘sell out’ local residents on side.
The company also said it delivered 35,000 euro worth of alcohol, which it purchased cheaply in the north of Ireland, to Belmullet Garda Station in December 2007.
Superintendent John Gillian is quoted by one of the managers of the company as saying “it’s lucky these walls are high”, as the consignment of alcohol was unloaded from an unmarked van.
The Gardai in Mayo have provided heavy-handed and occasionally brutal ‘security’ for Shell, which has controversially received planning permission to lay a high pressure pipeline from the Corrib gas field to a cheaply constructed onshore refinery.
Commenting on the accusations, local environmental campaigner Maura Harrington said that as well as the issue of “alcohol-fueled police violence”, the apparent bribes raise “serious concerns” for Shell’s auditors.
“It seems that Shell are intent to pay absolutely no tax in the State whatsoever, as even this alcohol was smuggled across the border,” Harrington said.
Her Shell to Sea campaign are now calling for a “fully independent international inquiry” into the allegations.
In a statement, gardaí said that it had found “no evidence” of the allegations, but denied this was because the alcohol had already been consumed and the empty bottles thrown away.