A US environmental group has claimed there could be a serious loss of confidence in gardaí in north Mayo as a result of the continuing Garda security for the Corrib gas project.
In a report published this week, the San Francisco-based Global Community Monitor calls for Government action to prevent further serious injury to protesters, the public and members of the Garda Síochána, and warns of a "more explosive situation" if there is no intervention.
The organisation, which has focused on other Royal Dutch Shell projects as part of its campaign strategy, sent an international fact-finding delegation to north Mayo last February to take testimonies. Its representatives attended protests at the Bellanaboy gas terminal.
It questions the training levels of gardaí involved in dealing with protest incidents and says there was evidence of "excessive physical force" by members of the Garda.
Chief Supt Tony McNamara, head of the Garda Síochána's Mayo division, said he rejected the group's contentions and he was very disappointed that it had not sought to contact him during its research.
He questioned the group's independence and said his staff were fully trained. There was "a small minority" of the north Mayo community involved in opposition to the Corrib gas project, he added.
© 2007 The Irish Times