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DIRTY TRICKS CAMPAIGN AS 'SHELL'S COPS' DEPLOYED IN MAYO
The heavy-handed tactics of Irish police were broadcast for all to see last week as RTE carried webcasts of the disruption by police offers of peaceful protests by local people opposed to the Shell Oil onshore gas facility at Bellanaboy, north Mayo.
Cathal Ó Luain pour Celtic League le 24/10/06 7:46

The heavy-handed tactics of Irish police were broadcast for all to see last week as RTE carried webcasts of the disruption by police offers of peaceful protests by local people opposed to the Shell Oil onshore gas facility at Bellanaboy, north Mayo.rnrnIn addition to State intervention in the dispute over the controversial gas pipeline through the deployment of hundreds of Gardai it is also becoming clear that a dirty tricks campaign may be under way aimed at leading figures in the 'Shell to Sea' opposition movement.rnrnThis weekend the Irish edition of the Sunday Times carried an article referring to Maura Harrington, the headmistress of Inver primary school in Mayo.rnrnMs. Harrington has in her spare time, along with others in the community, taken a leading role in opposing the Shell development.rnrnHowever, harassing one of the world's largest oil companies can be a dangerous pursuit.rnrnThe Sunday Times report suggests that Ms. Harringtons school has received a negative 'Inspection report' which it says is posted (in Irish) on the Department of Education web-site.rnrnHowever, Maura Harrington has hit back denying 'the spin' the newspaper has put on the report on her school and she has insisted that, despite her prominent role in the 'Shell to Sea' organisation, she has never allowed politics in the classroom.rnrnShe has also strongly rebutted suggestions that she and others involved in the 'Shell to Sea' campaign have intimidated others in the community more amenable to the Shell development. Citing the police action outside the gates of the Shell site at Bellanaboy last week she said:rnrn“What is intimidating is what I saw outside the gates of Bellanaboy in the dark hours of Monday night. It was something I never thought I'd see in this accursed country. To see the forces of the state under the control of a multinational oil company ranged against their own people is intimidating.”rnrnObviously, when Shell and its backers in the Irish business and political establishment are reduced to scurrilous personal attacks on a rural schoolmistresses it is a clear indicator that they are 'on the back foot'.rnrnMeanwhile the quote of the week from the increasingly bitter dispute came on RTE Television news as an angry Mayo resident attempting to peacefully demonstrate verbally lashed gardai with the taunt:rnrn"Shell's Cops, Shell's Cops - You're Shell's Cops"rnrnIreland's Garda Commissioner and the Justice Minister might wish to ponder that statement as they continue to deploy police (who should be the guardians of a community) to rough demonstrators up!rnrn J B Moffatt Director of Information Celtic Leaguernrn10/10/06

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