SF Condemns €14.5m Policing Operation For Shell

Speaking after it emerged that the cost of the garda presence at Bellanaboy Shell Refinery has cost over €14.5million since 2006, Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Jonathan O'Brien called on the Minister for Justice Alan Shatter to immediately examine these exorbitant costs.

The Cork North Central TD said: "These figures were supplied by the Minister for Justice in response to a parliamentary question tabled by Sinn Féin. In his response, the Minister blamed the high costs on the actions of the protestors.

"It is wholly unacceptable to blame these costs on a community who are exercising their democratic right to protest, and it is somewhat arrogant to suggest that the people engaged in such protests are there as a form of ‘self-indulgent’ ‘protest tourism’ – as if people would risk life and limb where there are extremely heavy handed gardaí present, for the craic. Time and again there have been questions raised regarding garda activity in Mayo and no adequate answers have ever been given."

He said the enormous amount of money to help Shell build a pipeline against the wishes of the community was "disgraceful".

He continued: "It is our view that Shell should have to shoulder these costs and not the Irish taxpayer. The whole area of provision of gardaí for non-public duty activities at a significant cost to the Irish tax payer is one that should be reviewed immediately.

"The minister's response to this question and the attitude he has displayed towards those protesting is typical of this government. Any form of questioning of the State is viewed as illegitimate as far as he is concerned. It shows a massive amount of disrespect towards those with legitimate and well-founded concerns."


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