OVER 100 gardaí escorted a convoy of heavy removal vehicles to the isolated Glenamoy crossroads in north Mayo around 4.30am this morning (Friday), in a bid to free Shell’s giant tunnel-boring machine. The truck carrying the machine jack-knifed at the crossroads early on Tuesday morning, and it has remained there ever since.
A spokesman for Rossport Solidarity Camp said the gardaí implemented checkpoints from about ten kilometres away at Bangor Erris. He confirmed that veteran campaigner, Maura Harrington, was arrested at one of the checkpoints, and that the rear window of her van smashed when she declined to exit it. The van was subsequently impounded and Ms Harrington was detained at Belmullet Garda Station.
When asked yesterday if she would desist from protesting to facilitate the removal of the jack-knifed lorry, Ms Harrington said ‘where there is opposition, there is resistance’.
The solidarity camp spokesman also said ‘there was a lot of harassment’ and drug searches.
While a garda spokesman confirmed this morning that a woman was arrested earlier and detained at the Belmullet station, he declined to comment any further for operational reasons
Meanwhile, local residents have questioned the ability of the boggy road, and the narrow old bridge, to withstand the weight of heavy removal vehicles. Mary Corduff, who lives in Rossport, a village cut-off for a time earlier this week due to the incident, has challenged the local authority’s assertion that the proper permits existed for this 170 tonne lorry to cross the tiny bridge at Glenamoy.
She said a council engineer told her that this bridge had not been surveyed. Reportedly, the jack-knifed lorry proceeded to the Glenamoy crossroads after it failed to make a turn to its destination at Aughoose, the site for the subsea tunnel works that will connect the raw gas to the inland refinery.
“This whole fiasco is further proof that this community is under siege and has had valid worries for 12 years about Corrib gas. We cannot trust the people in authority and there is no transparency,” Mary Corduff said.
Spokesman for Pobal Chill Chomáin, John Monaghan, said two of An Bord Pleanála’a conditions for granting planning permission for the controversial project had been flouted.
“Condition 21 stipulates that all roads affected directly and indirectly by the project must be surveyed and Condition 13 states that relevant information must be in the public domain. Over the last few days residents have been given the run-around over the special permits granted for this operation,” Mr Monaghan said.