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Mayo News: Shell move in to Bellanaboy

Tuesday, 26 September 2006 
Áine Ryan
 
AFTER weeks of speculation, and an absence of over a year, Shell returned to work at the controversial Bellanaboy terminal site early yesterday (Tuesday) morning. A large gathering of protesters, from all over the county, was expected to assemble at the site from shortly after 5.30am.

Gardaí confirmed to The Mayo News on Monday morning that they received notification of Shell’s intention to recommence work at the proposed terminal site on Tuesday. Later in the afternoon, Shell confirmed their intentions.

Chief Superintendant, Tony McNamara, revealed that there would be a low-key garda presence at the site, but he said he did not expect any trouble. He dismissed local concerns about the reported presence of three prison vans [paddy wagons] in the yard of Belmullet Garda Station since the weekend.

A rumour that the company had intended to restart work last Tuesday week led to a gathering of around 120 protesters, while over 100 people once again assembled at the site shortly after dawn on Monday morning this week in expectation of a resumption of work. 

Sources indicated that this number would increase significantly if there was an apparent movement of workers towards the site.

Chief Superintendant McNamara told The Mayo News: “We expect that any protest would be peaceful, as they have been in the past. The protesters have an absolute constitutional right to protest, as have the workers the same right to go to their place of work. We assume that both sides will respect that right. Of course, the courts are open to any party who feels the law has been broken.”

It is more than a year since Shell carried out any significant work at the Bellanaboy terminal site.

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