Trial shown footage of protesters at Shell compound

Footage appeared to show some protesters and security officers involved in scuffles

The jury in the trial of two Shell protesters were shown video footage of the protest where up to 70 protesters entered a Shell compound in north Mayo.

The video footage was captured by CCTV at the compound and by security officers policing the site when the protesters entered the Shell compound at Aughoose, Pollathomas in Co Mayo on June 23rd, 2013.

Gerry Bourke of Aughoose, Pollathomas Co Mayo and Liam Heffernan of Kilnagear, Belcarra, Castlebar, Co Mayo are on trial in Castlebar Circuit Criminal Court both charged with violent disorder and criminal damage as a result of the protest.

They have both pleaded not guilty.


The protest took place at approximately 1pm on Sunday, June 23rd, 2013 and the CCTV footage showed the protesters arriving at the main gate of the compound, where a play was taking place.

The protesters then moved to the Lenamore side of the compound near the seashore where the video footage showed the protesters removing the heras fencing and entering the site. The video footage also appeared to show the protesters and security officers scuffling with each other.

As well as the charge of violent disorder, Mr Bourke is accused of causing damage to heras fencing and Mr Heffernan is accused of causing damage to wooden railings in the compound.

The third day of the trial before Judge Petria McDonnell also heard evidence from Ionat Ghita, a former security officer who worked for the Senaca security group which was also known as IRMS. Mr Ghita told the court he was responsible for downloading the CCTV footage of the protest and giving it to the gardaí.

When questioned by Mr Brendan Nix, SC for Mr Bourke, he said he knew Tipperary man Michael Dwyer and Hungarian national Tibor Révész who both worked as security for IRMS on the Corrib gas project in 2008, and were killed by Bolivian police in April 2009.

When asked if the killings were discussed by the security staff working on the Corrib project, he replied, “Not at all, nobody spoke about it”. He added all he knew about the killings was from what was in the newspapers.

A Romanian national, Mr Ghita said he had no military experience and no longer worked with the Senaca Group.

He also said he had no knowledge of any of the security workers on the Corrib gas project wearing badges with ‘Operation Solitaire Shield’ and ‘Operation Glengad Beach’ on their uniform.

The trial continues.