In a report submitted to the UN Human Right Council on Monday, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, Margaret Sekaggya, called on the Irish Government to “investigate all allegation and reports of intimidation, harassment and surveillance in the context of the Corrib Gas dispute in a prompt and impartial manner”.
Margaret Sekaggya visited Ireland last November to assess the situation for Human Rights Defenders in Ireland. On November 21 she met with a delegation from Shell to Sea.
The report stated that evidence that Mrs Sekaggya received indicated “the existence of a pattern of intimidation, harassment, surveillance and criminalisation of those peacefully opposing the Corrib Gas project…. The information received seemed to indicate that the policing of the protests had been, in some instances, disproportionate. Moreover, there have also been serious concerns about the lawfulness of certain actions by the private security firm employed by Shell”.
The Special Rapporteur also noted the use of the Public Order Act in a manner which could, in her opinion, “undermine the right to protest”.
Commenting on the report Shell to Sea spokesperson Maura Harrington stated: “All reports to date have consistently found failings in the policing of Corrib. We welcome Mrs Sekaggya’s call for an impartial investigation, which we believe can only be satisfied by competent people outside the State.”
Shell to Sea spokesperson Terence Conway added that it was his opinion that none of the complaints that have been submitted to the Garda Ombudsman has been properly addressed. He has called for the disbandment of the Garda Ombudsman amd another oversight body established.