Friday, 24 April 2009

*Willie Corduff hospitalised by balaclava-clad Shell security

"I thought they were trying to kill me. They beat me until I stopped moving. I heard one of them say, 'Stop now lads, he's nearly finished.' " – Willie Corduff

Shell to Sea is appalled at the vicious and brutal attack that was made on Rossport 5 member Willie Corduff by Shell security force wearing balaclavas last night.

Willie had been under that truck on the Glengad site for 16 hours, when at approximately 3:00am IRMS security wearing balaclavas moved in to forcibly remove him. Subsequently an ambulance was called and brought him to Castlebar Hospital, where he still remains. Today is the second anniversary of the day that Willie Corduff won the Goldman Environmental prize.

A local resident who was present that the time stated that he saw the masked security men push Willie to the ground and start kicking him and hitting him with large batons. They knelt on his head and twisted his arms behind his back as they beat him. His brother-in-law attempted to aid Willie but was pushed back repeatedly and forcibly removed by the masked Shell security into an adjacent field where he was then knocked to the ground, kicked and beaten.

Shell to Sea Spokesperson Terence Conway stated: “This was a vicious and cowardly attack by this group of balaclava-wearing Shell mercenaries in the middle of the night, on a brave member of our community, Willie Corduff, who was peacefully protesting the illegality of this project. The only violence that happened in Glengad last night was carried out by Shell security”

Serious concerns as to the background of security personnel in Erris have been raised in the wake of the death of a former Shell security contract worker who worked in Glengad, Michael Dwyer, as part of an alleged plot to assassinate the Bolivian President, Evo Morales.

Earlier last night at approximately 11:30pm, the fencing that Shell contractors had unlawfully put up that day was removed. During the day, the local community actively opposed the fencing work, as there is no planning permission for the work in Glengad.

Allegations that protestors entered Glengad site carrying iron bars and chains, or that any security personnel was harmed, are absolutely untrue.

Mr Conway continued, “It has become common practice to falsely accuse us of violence, in order to cover up the brutality that is inflicted upon us. This work in Glengad is totally illegal but all of our attempts to raise the illegality of these works have fallen on deaf Government ears. Repeated request to see the permissions for these works have been ignored.”

For verification and further comment contact:
Terence Conway - 086 0866264
Maura Harrington - 087 9591474

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