Protester claims he was beaten up


A protester who bedded down under a truck at the site where work is taking place on the controversial Corrib gas pipeline has claimed he was beaten up by a gang of men at the compound in the early hours of this morning.

Willie Corduff, a member of the Rossport Five, who were jailed for 94 days in 2005 over their opposition to the routing of the onshore pipeline, was taken to Mayo General Hospital in Castlebar.

Mr Corduff (55) claims he was dragged from under a truck at around 3.45am by at least six men dressed in black and wearing balaclavas who beat him viciously about the head and knees.

“I thought they were trying to kill me,” said Mr Corduff. “They beat me until I stopped moving. I heard one of them say, ‘Stop now lads, he’s nearly finished.”

Earlier this week Shell EP Ireland decided to resume efforts to lay the offshore section of the pipeline after its environmental management plan was approved by Minister for Energy Eamon Ryan.

Mr Corduff and two other local men climbed under the truck at midday yesterday in an attempt to halt work at the site at Glengad, Bellanaboy. The other two men were removed but Mr Corduff vowed to stay under the vehicle until he had evidence that Shell had authorisation for their work.

In addition to his claims of having been attacked by a gang, Mr Corduff also said that gardaí had thrown stones at him yesterday in an attempt to remove him from under the truck.

Gardaí are today investigating an incident at Shell’s Corrib site in which they say up to 15 people wearing balaclavas and carrying tools, bars and chains vandalised the area last night. It is not known if the two incidents are connected.

A spokeswoman for Shell EP Ireland said the company would not be issuing a statement regarding recent activities at the site while the Garda investigation was continuing.