EIRE/IRELAND: NOBEL PRIZE FOR IRONY - GARDA SUPERINTENDENT TONY McNAMARA
If there was a Nobel Prize for irony it would surely be awarded to Tony McNamara, Garda Chief Superintendent of the Mayo Division of An Garda Síochána.
Commenting after masked men attacked a works compound at the Shell site at Glengad Garda McNamara said the incident appeared to be "well planned" and was "an almost military-style operation".
Now that's rich coming from An Garda Síochána who have actually deployed military forces and been by assisted civilian security staff in countering peaceful protests by community members opposed to Shell's dangerous plan for an on-shore gas pipeline terminal.
The Police also called on those who are unhappy about the building of the pipeline to engage with the North West Mayo Forum, which was established by the Government to examine issues relating to the Corrib project. However they know that a section of the community have no confidence in this consultative forum which has only been put in place as the entrenched nature of opposition to the Shell plans has become apparent.
Superintendent McNamara`s pleas for, "people to stand back and take stock of what happened down there last night." and that "People are absolutely entitled to protest but it should be peaceful and within the law", may also fall on deaf ears.
Shell to Sea protesters and their supporters have tried peaceful protest and have been subjected to some of the most foul and despicable physical abuse and assault by Shell's security staff and An Garda Síochána. Much of it captured on video.
In addition the full weight of the State and Judiciary has been deployed against the people with a number jailed for trying to protect their homes and community.
It is sad that there has been an outbreak of direct action at the site. However as accusations flow from the police about a potential escalation of the situation they should ask the question - Who is it that has brutalised this peaceful rural community in North Mayo? The answer is Shell - with the help of An Garda Síochána!
J B Moffatt Director of Information Celtic League