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Page last updated at 13:33 GMT, Thursday, 23 April 2009 14:33 UK

Shell site attacked by armed gang

Shell

Irish police said a security guard has been injured after a gang of up to 15 armed and masked men attacked a Shell pipeline site in County Mayo.

It is understood boltcutters were used to gain access to the Glengad landfall site.

Irish police said the attackers used a company digger on the site and caused considerable damage to the compound.

One guard suffered an arm injury when he was struck by a steel pipe. No arrests have been made.

The gang had left by the time police arrived.

On Wednesday, a protester placed himself under a truck at the entrance to the site where security fencing was being erected.

The protest organisation Shell to Sea said that allegations protesters entered the site carrying weapons, or that any security personnel were harmed, were untrue.

They say the only person injured was the protestor under the truck.

Shell and its partners, Statoil and Marathon, are developing the offshore Corrib Gas Project.

Opponents claim the project threatens to destroy the environment of the coastline, and say Shell should fully refine the natural gas off-shore.

However, Shell and other experts say this would be more difficult and dangerous and instead, it is building a refinery five miles inland.

The protest over the project made international news in 2005 when five people - dubbed the "Rossport Five" - were jailed for breaking court orders by obstructing the companies from carrying out pipeline work on their land.

The Irish government backs the project, which it says is essential for the country's energy needs and has given generous tax concessions to petrochemical companies.



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