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MEP claims he was assaulted at peaceful Corrib protest

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MEP Paul Murphy talks to Gardaí during a road protest close to Shell’s inland refinery site at Bellanaboy.
MEP Paul Murphy talks to Gardaí during a road protest close to Shell’s inland refinery site at Bellanaboy.?Pic: William Hederman

MEP claims he was assaulted at peaceful Corrib protest


Áine Ryan

A SOCIALIST Party MEP has claimed he was assaulted by gardaí at a peaceful protest, held last week near Aughoose, the site of the latest phase of the controversial Corrib gas project. Paul Murphy said he was in ‘excruciating pain’ after he was poked in the ribs and that his left ear was twisted repeatedly by a garda.
He said he intends making an official complaint to the Garda Síochána and alleges  he was not the only peaceful protestor to be targeted in this manner .
“I have witnessed and experienced the Garda violence that is used against protestors on a daily basis. I participated in a peaceful sit-down protest in front of a truck used by Shell that had been mounted by a protester. In order to remove our peaceful sit-down protest, the Gardaí used a level of violence deliberately designed to inflict pain on the protestors,” Paul Murphy said.
He continued: “They repeatedly called for each other to target protesters’ pressure points. What this meant was made clear when my left ear was twisted repeatedly to the point of excruciating pain and I was repeatedly poked beneath the ribs in a sensitive area causing significant pain. I was also hit on the head and was violently dragged and pulled in such a manner as to rip my jumper.”
Mr Murphy has now called  for an immediate and full public investigation, involving representatives of the community and the trade union movement, into the behaviour of the Gardaí in Rossport over the last number of years.
Responding the Garda Press Office declined to comment on the details of Mr Murphy’s claims but confirmed one person, who was on top of a truck, was arrested and charged with public order offences.
MEANWHILE, a major debate about the State’s stake in our offshore natural resources was sparked by a recent provocative Opinion Column in The Irish Times, in which Fintan O’Toole argued that Ireland should split control of the resources  with  Norway. He suggested that the Nordic country’s expertise in this field, and its favourable statutory share for its citizens, could inform a governmental decision towards demanding better fiscal terms from the oil companies.
He wrote the piece in the context of the closure, at the end of May, of a new round of applications for exploration licenses in Atlantic waters. The round  attracted 15 applications, which  is the largest number to date and clear confirmation of increased interest in Irish waters.
An Indecon report, commissioned by the State in 2007, concluded that by international standards the existing Irish terms are very generous for the developers. However, a response to O’Toole by the present Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources,  argues  such terms are necessary in order to interest the industry.
Last April Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív suggested a review of the terms should be undertaken by the Oirachtas Committee on Communications, Natural Resources and Agriculture.