Tensions continue to run high in Co Mayo as a truck carrying machinery for the controversial Corrib gas project remains stuck at a junction.
The 40m vehicle has been blocking a road near the Glenamoy Bridge in Erris since yesterday morning after failing to negotiate a turn. Efforts to move it were suspended overnight due to protesters.
It was one of three trucks transporting parts of a large tunnel-boring machine, which is being used to dig a 4.9km tunnel under Sruwaddacon Bay and inland to the Bellanaboy Gas Processing Terminal as part of Shell’s Corrib gas project.
A Shell E&P Ireland spokesman said the road should be cleared this morning.
“Due to protester activity and safety considerations, attempts to remove the truck from the location and restore access to the road had to be suspended overnight,” said the spokesman.
“Access to the west side of the L1203 will be restored from 8.30 this morning. Shell E&P will continue to work with both the Gardai and Mayo County Council to resolve the situation.”
He said the organisation apologised for any inconvenience caused.
A group of protesters stayed at the site overnight but were kept at a distance from the truck by security blocking the road around it.
Con Coughlan, of the Rossport Solidarity Camp, said the recent road blockage was a further insult from Shell.
“We’ve had enough of this nonsense,” said Mr Coughlan this morning. “How many more insults do they want to throw at us?”
He said campaigners were going on a fact-finding mission today and will consider their next move – after the truck has been removed from the road.
Mr Coughlan added there was no trouble through the night from protesters.
Yesterday, a scuffle broke out as a huge garda convoy escorted the specialist tunnelling equipment from Dublin to the Sruwaddacon Estuary in north Mayo.
Campaigners initially blocked the road on the outskirts of Ballina in the early hours of yesterday morning to stop the trucks.
Two protesters chained themselves to a drum filled with cement, but gardai with specialist cutting equipment cleared the scene.
A further 30 supporters blocked the road closer to the Bellacorick bridge near Erris with a van, before a scuffle broke out with gardai, which saw one woman having her trousers torn off.
A garda spokesman said four arrests were made.
The three trucks transported equipment for the machinery all the way from Dublin Port.
The slow-moving convoy, which took two days to reach Co Mayo, included four garda vans carrying members of the Public Order Unit, other police vehicles and minibuses of private security.