“Our involvement with the pair of whistleblowers [Maurice McCabe and John Wilson] in this case actually started as a result of the protests here [against] Corrib. It was the cases of the rape tape allegations and that being brought to the public eye with the protestors with Corrib.
There was a Vincent Browne programme [TV3, April 2011] that dealt with that issue. I was on the panel and I made some points . . . particularly about the fact that things hadn’t changed much since Donegal and the Morris [tribunal] . . . that there was a systemic problem of accountability with An Garda Síochána…
…The first whistleblower [Maurice McCabe] guard happened to be watching the TV that night said, that’s somebody who I think I could get on with, and he contacted me after that and arranged to come up to Dublin . . .
…He said he would stay in contact with us, and he did that . . . and in the summer of 2012, when we were in the news a bit and a lot of the media being incredibly negative about us, the second whistleblowing guard [John Wilson] said, ‘God, these people seem to have a bit of backbone, I think we’ll get in touch with them again’. And this time they were ready to go public.”
Clare Daly at Who Polices the Police? conference, Inver (near Rossport) in north Mayo on November 23, 2013. The women who came forward with the tape were accused by then Minister for Justice of exploiting the words said by the guards and tampering with the editing of the tape.
An invoice from oil services company, OSSL, addressed to Shell and dated August 24, 2012, for an alleged drop-off of alcohol to gardaí in Mayo and Athlone in December 2007; and gardaí in a stand-off with protesters at Pollathomas Pier on June 11, 2007
You’ll recall the small oil services company, OSSL.
It has claimed it sourced and distributed sweeteners – including tennis courts, television sets and even school fees – to residents and gardaí in Rossport, Co. Mayo, home of the controversial Corrib Gas project, from 2004 until 2010, for Shell.
OSSL – managed by Desmond Kane, from Glasgow, and Neil Rooney, from Belfast – has alleged one such “accommodation service” for Shell included the delivery of €35,000 worth of alcohol to Belmullet Garda Station and Athlone, on behalf of Shell in December 2007.
This alleged delivery would have taken place just months after a serious clash between protesters and gardaí in Pollathomas Pier, Co Mayo on June 11, 2007, which left 20 civilians and two gardaí injured and which, OSSL claims, saw Neil Rooney, of OSSL, be placed under pressure by former CEO of Shell Ireland Terry Nolan to change a statement he had prepared for GSOC.
It was alleged Mr Rooney, in his statement, heard Superintendent Joe Gannon say: “I’m going to drive these fuckers into the sea”, in reference to the protesters at Pollathomas Pier. OSSL has alleged Mr Nolan told him “our man [Supt Gannon] had to be protected at all costs”.
In 2009, GSOC recommended that disciplinary action be taken against a senior garda in relation to the handling of the Pollathomas Pier protest but former Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy didn’t carry this out.
OSSL didn’t invoice Shell for this alleged alcohol drop in 2007 until August 24, 2012 – 22 days after it had reached a settlement with Shell and agreed to discontinue High Court proceedings [After their contract ended, OSSL alleged that, under instruction, invoices were falsified and that excessive tax had been withheld on invoices].
The €43,634.25 invoice contains the names of three senior gardaí – none of whom have taken any action against OSSL – and was first published on John Donovan’s Royal Dutch Shell website in March 2013.
Veteran journalist Ed Vulliamy wrote about the alleged alcohol drop at Belmullet in The Observer newspaper in August 2013.
Mr Vulliamy wrote that, while unloading the alcohol in December 2007, Supt John Gilligan, of Belmullet Garda Station at the time, allegedly said: “it’s lucky these walls are high”, in reference to the protesters in the area.
Several days after Mr Vulliamy’s article appeared in The Observer, Shell released a statement, saying, among other things, that:
”Shell E&P Ireland Limited (SEPIL) unequivocally rejects OSSL’s allegations regarding delivery at any time of alcohol to An Garda Síochána.”
Indeed a GSOC investigation into the claims, in July 2014, found:
“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.”
The report added:
“These complaints and allegations have been made public and had the potential to undermine public confidence in the Garda Síochána, as well as affect the reputation of others. We hope that publicly explaining the proportionate, fair and independent investigation of this matter will promote confidence of members of the public and of the Garda Síochána in police oversight in this country.”
OSSL released a statement in response to GSOC’s report, stating Mr Kane and Mr Rooney met with GSOC on December 12, 2013 and that their statements – that were previously written down by a Mayo-based superintendent in a hotel in Tallaght, Dublin, in mid-2013, and signed by the two men – were ripped up in front of them while a garda said they were “shit”.
Further to this, last Wednesday, John Donovan, of the Royal Dutch Shell Plc website, contacted GSOC about material that had come into his possession since GSOC’s investigation in 2014.
In his email to GSOC last week, Mr Donovan drew attention to the invoice that OSSL drew up in August 2012.
“If the invoice is fictitious and the related OSSL allegations false, OSSL directors would by now have been arrested and charged for forging a VAT invoice and using it in an attempt to blackmail its former client, Shell EP Ireland.”
His email also contained an audio file of a 42-minute secretly recorded consultation between senior lawyer Mr Marc Fitzgibbon, of Dublin solicitors Lavelle, and Des Kane and Neil Rooney, of OSSL – a recording OSSL subsequently gave to John Donovan.
Attached was a series of emails between Mr Kane and Mr Fitzgibbon which were sent back and forth after the recorded meeting.
Mr Donovan’s email to GSOC also contained a letter, dated October 21, 2014, from Mr Fitzgibbon to Mr Kane, his client, after Mr Donovan notified Mr Fitzgibbon, in an email dated October 18, 2014, that his meeting with Mr Kane and Mr Rooney was secretly recorded [Mr Donovan had sent Mr Fitzgibbon extracts from the recording and sent a copy of the email to Shell’s company secretary, Michiel Brandjes – in order to give them the opportunity to take action to stop Mr Donovan from handing the material to the authorities].
In Mr Fitzgibbon’s letter to Mr Kane, Mr Fitzgibbon tells Mr Kane that he has received two requests from Shell for a conference call with Shell staff, including Michael Crothers, the CEO of Irish Shell.
On November 4, 2014, Mr Donovan sent an email to Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald. It included the audio recording and a full transcript of the meeting between Marc Fitzgerald, Des Kane and Neil Rooney.
On March 9, 2015, Mr Donovan received a reply from Minister Fitzgerald, in which her private secretary Chris Quattrociocchi stated:
“The Minister has directed me to point out the recent Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) Report of its investigation into these allegations. That Report, as you are no doubt aware, found no evidence of the purchase or delivery of alcohol to Garda stations, nor any misconduct of Garda members.”
“The Minister considers, therefore, that the matter is now closed and will not be entering into any further correspondence in relation to this.”
On Thursday last, GSOC confirmed to Mr Donovan in writing that it is looking at the material.
So what of this recorded meeting which took place in Dublin, in July 2014?
The main subject discussed is the alcohol that was allegedly given to gardaí.
In it, Mr Kane repeatedly seeks Mr Fitzgibbon’s confirmation that ‘the police alcohol’ was spoken about at several key meetings with senior figures at Shell before OSSL issued the invoice.
Mr Kane repeatedly says he needs ‘back-up’ or confirmation of these conversations to prove to Shell’s company secretary, Michiel Brandjes, ‘the culture of what they were being asked to do by Shell’.
He also says he and Mr Rooney want to take lie detector tests as, he claims, they’re seen as liars in the Irish media and public.
There is also considerable discussion over whether or not ‘the police alcohol’ was part of the full and final settlement agreed on August 2, 2012, with Mr Kane claiming it wasn’t and alleging that he was waiting on instructions from Shell as to how it should invoiced, stating that previous gifts of alcohol to gardai were invoiced as boots and hats.
Indeed, Mr Kane claims OSSL were actually paid for certain services after the settlement.
Mr Fitzgibbon impresses upon Mr Kane that he has to check his notes to recall the context of how ‘the police alcohol’ was talked about in those conversations.
In the recorded meeting, Mr Kane repeats the allegation that OSSL lost its contract with Shell because of OSSL’s refusal to change their statement regarding Supt Joe Gannon, and that one resident was given sweeteners worth up to almost €900,000.
The meeting begins with Mr Kane explaining that he attended the Shell AGM in May 2014 in the Hague, where he requested another meeting with a Shell representative and that he was told this would only be possible if evidence was produced to support Mr Kane’s allegations.
Following is a transcript of the conversation between Marc Fitzgibbon, of Dublin solicitors Lavelle, and Des Kane and Neil Rooney, of OSSL Continue reading
Are you neither tarnished nor afraid?
There’s never been a better time to blow.
Via Shell to Sea :
The Shell to Sea campaign is making a fresh call for whistleblowers to come forward to expose malpractice and corruption in the facilitation of the Shell Corrib gas project. The call comes in the wake of the publication of the Guerin report and against the backdrop of the ongoing criminalisation of protest against the imposition of the Corrib gas project in Co Mayo.
Shell to Sea spokesperson Terence Conway said: “We are calling for more whistleblowers from within the ranks of An Garda Síochána, Shell, Shell subcontractors and any State agency involved in facilitating the Corrib gas project to come forward and assist us expose the corrupt practices used to date in attempting to force through this dangerous project.”
He was speaking after yesterday’s sitting of Belmullet District Court where three Shell to Sea campaigners were appearing on charges arising from a mass protest at the main Shell work site for the construction of the onshore Corrib gas pipeline.
So far, one former Shell subcontractor – OSSL – has already come forward exposing the corrupt delivery of €35,000 of alcohol to Gardaí drafted into Mayo in 2006 to police protests.
Corrib whistleblowers may contact the Shell to Sea campaign at firstname.lastname@example.org or by using the feedback button at Shell to Sea.
I will take the opportunity in the next half hour when speaking on the Guerin Report Dáil debate to name the latest whistle-blower
— Pearse Doherty (@PearseDoherty) May 15, 2014
“GSOC has investigated approximately 124 complaints against members of the force arising from the policing of the Shell to sea protest. Of these complaints, GSOC deemed 37 to be inadmissible. That left 87 admissible cases of which 85 are closed. The following is a breakdown of 57 complaints directly linked to the Shell to Sea protest. There were 33 allegations of assault; 17 cases of abuse of authority; three of discreditable conduct; two of discourtesy; and two of neglect of duty.The remaining 30 complaints do not appear to relate directly to the protest, for example, a person driving home having participated in a protest at the Corrib gas site who was stopped by a garda and who subsequently made a complaint about the manner in which he or she was dealt with. There were no adverse findings in these cases. Some seven files out of the 124 were forwarded to the DPP for consideration, and the DPP directed no prosecution in all seven. These are all GSOC investigations. Disciplinary proceedings were recommended in 16 cases under section 95 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005.”
Justice Minister Alan Shatter in the Dáil yesterday.
Read the debate in full here.
The Irish Times reports:
“The Corrib Gas partners are now counting the cost of a contentious An Bord Pleanála ruling as the bill for the project is set to hit almost €3.4 billion before the end of next year.
“The company driving the project, Shell E&P Ireland Ltd (SEPIL) confirmed yesterday that the Corrib Gas Partners last year spent a further €250 million on the project.”
“The 2012 outlay brought the total spend on the project to €2.68 billion at the end of December last.”
“Work continues on the 5km tunnel to bring the gas ashore and a Shell spokesman confirmed yesterday that a further €380 million will be spent on the project this year with a projected €300 million to be spent on the scheme next year.”
“The firm expects the tunnel to be complete by the middle of next year with the first gas to flow by 2015.”
“The spiralling costs associated with the €3.36 billion project make it the largest commercial investment by private investors in one single project in the history of the State.”
Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland
No, pull it out.
“There were scuffles with guards and people’s clothes were torn.”
“One woman had her trousers torn off.”
“Then about 50 gardai held the crowd back until the convoy passed.”
Pic by @GerryCasey
[vimeo clip_id=”21952231″ height=”” width=”640″]
The Minister for Justice has said that a recording of gardaí making remarks of a sexually suggestive and disturbing nature at a Corrib protest in Mayo was tampered with.
The recording was made following the arrest of two women at a protest against the Corrib pipeline in Co Mayo. It was revealed today that the five gardaí – who were disciplined and investigated following the release of the recording – will not face criminal charges.
Shell to Sea says it does not accept the recording was tampered with.
Spokesperson Caoimhe Kerins has said other academic files were removed from the disc before it was handed to the Garda Ombudsman, but the entire file for that day was made available.
Vimeo clip: Mayo Policing