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The Mirror: TD anger at ‘phone tapping’: Corrib gas project ‘alleged undercover operation’

TOM GILLESPIE
Published: Mar 29, 2007

A TD is at the centre of an alleged phone tapping scandal involving rivals of the Corrib gas project, it emerged yesterday.

Dr Jerry Cowley wants a probe into claims his phone line in north Mayo has been under Garda surveillance for several months, along with senior figures within the Shell To Sea group.

The independent TD revealed he was alerted to the alleged undercover operation “by a series of unusual coincidences”.

In an interview with the Connaught Telegraph he said: “I am not the only one to hold these fears.

“People who have taken a particular stand on the Corrib gas dispute approached me on a number of occasions expressing their suspicions.

“They are convinced their conversations are being monitored because there is compelling evidence of it happening.

“If it is proven a member of the Oireachtas is having his phone tapped, it would be a scandal of the highest order.”

The Mulranny-based representative has formally questioned Tanaiste Michael McDowell about his fears.

He asked him to outline the number of people in Mayo, and particularly those within the Shell To Sea group, who have had surveillance carried out on them.

In response, Mr McDowell stated it would be contrary to the public interest to comment on the existence or otherwise of covert Garda operations.

Dr Cowley added the minister’s failure to rule out phone tapping increased his anxieties.

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