Rossport Solidarity Camp members resist the construction of Shell's pipe laying compound at Aughoose which results in I-RMS unlawfully obstructing public highway.
At approx 6.40 am this morning, Wednesday 9th August, members of Rossport Solidarity Camp entered Shell's pipe laying compound at Aughoose. Shell is attempting to extend its existing compound to facilitate the arrival of its tunnel boring machine. A total of about 70 I-RMS security guards removed 10+ protesters from the compound with force. Gardai were standing by to assist the I-RMS, however, they were faced with a difficult legal predicament: which law could they use to restrain or arrest a protester? Without the free reign of "public order" legislation, the Gardai could only reproach protesters if the private land owner, Shell, requested it.
One protester was arrested for refusing to give a name and address. Gardai are entitled to request a name and address only if the person in question is, within reason, suspected of breaking a law. In short, a garda must tell a person why he/she is requesting a name and address. The gardai were having difficulty locating such a reason. It is unclear whether or not Shell asked the Gardai to intervene. With the negative public relations image Shell has acquired for itself in Ireland due to the Corrib project, it is thought that Shell are reluctant take any court proceedings against protesters.
The IRMS was policing the entire road outside the Aughoose compound at various points. This writer has personally seen I-RMS security guards unlawfully act in a manner only warranted to police officers of the state. Despite assurances by Superintendent Pat Diskin who in an article written by Irish Times reporter, Lorna Siggins, denied claims by Shell to Sea that the private security company, I-RMS, was closing roads at Aughoose. This morning the I-RMS did block the road unlawfully. Rossport solidarity camp members, as well as members of the Gardai, witnessed these actions. Gardai are legally obligated to maintain the public order on all public highways at all times whenever possible. This morning I-RMS were exempt from the laws of the state.
Two protesters were assaulted by I-RMS security guards, with one of the protesters being punched in the face. Complaints have been made to the Gardai and statements have been given on the matter. Meanwhile, Rossport Solidarity Camp members stopped work this afternoon at Shrahmore peat deposition site from 4pm until 7pm. This is the second consecutive day that work in Shrahmore has been halted by protesters.
If you want to visit the camp there is plenty for everyone; join in the protests, or help in the garden, or help with site maintenance. The camp is located in a field in Aughoose, between Ballinaboy and Pullathomas. Ring the camp at 0851141170 or email at rossportsolidaritycamp[at]gmail[dot]com