You may recall a story from August of last year by Ed Vulliamy in The Observer, claiming a small oil services company called OSSL gifted sweeteners to residents and gardaí of Rossport, Co. Mayo, on behalf of Shell from 2002 to 2010 – including a delivery of €35,000 of alcohol to Belmullet Garda Station in 2007.
The Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission subsequently carried out an investigation into the allegations, on foot of complaints from partners in OSSL to GSOC about the same.
GSOC released its report yesterday, finding there was “no evidence of the purchase or delivery of alcohol to garda stations, nor of any misconduct of garda members, has been found as a result of the investigation”.
In it’s report, GSOC also claimed that the complainants [from OSSL] stopped cooperating with GSOC during their enquiries, saying:
“The investigation process was outlined to the complainants, including the need to retrieve documents from them, such as proofs of purchase, bank statements, vehicle hire records, company phone bills and/or any other documents which would provide evidence to substantiate their claim. It was explained that this must be done before approaches were made to any Garda members about whom they had complained. Shortly after the meeting on this subject, the company indicated by e-mail that they would no longer be cooperating with the investigation.”
Further to this, OSSL has released its own statement:
“In December 2007 we were tasked by Shell E&P Ireland to deliver alcohol to two locations in Ireland, to satisfy an arrangement they had made with Mayo and Athlone-based police officers. Adhering to the instructions given we carried out the instructions of Shell to the letter. The instruction given made clear that there should be no traceability or paper trail linking Shell to the gifting of the alcohol at both locations .
In mid 2013 we were approached by a Mayo-based police Superintendent from Swinford and asked to meet with him on the matter of the 2007 alcohol gifting. We agreed to meet him and, in a hotel in Tallaght, Dublin, we furnished him with freely given honest accounts of the details of the alcohol gifting at the centre of his enquires. He handwrote our account of the facts and asked us to sign the statements to confirm our part in Shell’s joint venture with the Mayo and Athlone police.
We were approached by GSOC and requested to attend their Dublin offices on Dec 12, 2013. We agreed and attended, and were met by a senior investigator who informed us – in the presence of one other of his colleagues – that he was in receipt of signed police statements given by us in the hotel in Tallaght.
He informed us the format and content of our statements was in their opinion (GSOC’s) “shit” and, in our presence, tore the the statements into four pieces and stated that in order to justify our claims we must write a novel of information on the matter of Shell /Garda alcohol gifting and that we must include all the players and their parts, and prove a culture extraordinary gifting on Shells part in progressing the Corrib Gas development. We declined his request in writing and offered GSOC our reasons.
A investigation finding of no proof comes as no surprise to OSSL. Why anybody would cooperate with such bizarre investigation bureau willing to destroy and discard freely and honestly give testimony is a mystery to us.
The alcohol was delivered, the recipient police officers were named, the details are exactly as stated. The GSOC announcement changes nothing.
Michael Crothers of Shell, the replacement CEO for the man at the helm at the time of the alcohol instructions, requested OSSL to accept a payment for “old stock of safety equipment” that would encompass the outstanding monies for the alcohol supplied to the police.
OSSL refused, in the presence of legal teams, for both parties Shell/OSSL in the Burlington Hotel in Dublin. Crothers, acting for Shell, stated he could not ” compartmentalise ” the alcohol as an item for payment in its undisguised form. He was accompanied at the meeting by Shell’s head of legal Julia Busby who witnessed the offer.”
Read GSOC’s report in full here
Thanks John Donovan