Bomb squad defuses device at Shell HQ

 

A BOMB was left last night outside the offices of Shell Ireland in what the company has called a "sinister escalation" in the campaign against the Corrib Gas pipeline in Co Mayo. No group has claimed responsibility for the device.

The bomb, which was defused by the Army bomb disposal squad, was described by an Army spokesman as "viable, home-made, crude and highly-dangerous. It could have seriously injured or harmed somebody if somebody had handled it," the spokesman said.

The alert was raised by gardaí who discovered the device in a carrier bag beside a railing at Corrib House in Leeson Street at around 10pm.

The bomb disposal unit arrived on scene at 10.30pm and a controlled explosion was carried out at 11.20pm. An incident room has been set up at Harcourt Street Garda Station.

The Shell headquarters has been a regular target of protesters against the pipeline in Co Mayo.

It has been picketed, blockaded and occupied by protesters.

A solidarity rally with schoolteacher Maura Harrington, who is currently on hunger strike, was held there at lunch-time yesterday.

Mrs Harrington has promised to continue her hunger strike until the Solitaire, which has been laying pipes off the coast, leaves Irish territorial waters.

It is currently in Killybegs, Co Donegal, where it is being assessed for damage done while laying the pipes.

Similar protests took place yesterday outside the London offices of Allseas, the company that owns the pipe-laying ship.

Shell Ireland spokesman Colin Joyce said the company was in no doubt that the bomb was in support of opposition to the refinery.

There were violent clashes last weekend at the refinery entrance. "We've had a lot of attacks in Mayo. There has fencing torn down, there has been arson attacks. We have had guys reversing through the gates," he said.

"This is a sinister development and very serious escalation . This is another notch up and we're extremely worried."