Dublin’s representative in the European Parliament has lodged a formal complaint over an assault on him by 26-County police at a peaceful environmental protest in County Mayo.
Paul Murphy was left with bruising to his head for a number of days after members of the Gardai grabbed him by the neck and face while dragging him away from a sit-down protest.
Mr Murphy described the actions of some Gardai against the peaceful protestors as “outrageous”.
“Garda brutality has been a persistent feature of the situation in Rossport since the end of 2006, when the area was effectively militarised with hundreds of Gardai coming into the area,” he said.
“At that time, protesters including myself were subjected to serious assaults by the Gardai, including being thrown into ditches, beaten with batons and deliberately punched.”
He said that during the incident last week, he was one of a group that sat on a roadway in support of a protester who had climbed onto the roof of a Shell lorry at one of the company’s sites.
The works are part of a construction project to lay a high pressure pipeline that will carry gas from the offshore gas field to Shell’s hugely controversial onshore refinery plant.
Mr Murphy, who travelled to Mayo as part of a Socialist Party delegation, said Gardai were aggressive when they moved in, and made no attempt to use any approach, apart from violence.
He says he was picked up by four or five Gardai, had the area behind his ear and his left jaw pressed hard and also suffered blows to his ribs and head, while having his ears twisted with force.
He was among a group of between 15 and 20 protesters removed from the road and dragged behind Garda lines, though they were not arrested.
Mr Murphy lodged his complaint yesterday afternoon at the offices in Dublin of the Garda ombudsman. He said he had no confidence his complaint would progress in any meaningful fashion, pointing out that of the 111 complaints lodged in relation to the policing of the Shell to Sea protests, 78 were deemed inadmissible by the ombudsman and seven were sent to prosecutors.
“Most strikingly, only one file was sent to the Garda Commissioner’s office calling for disciplinary procedures. To date, no disciplinary action has been taken.”