Speaking about the issue, Shell E&P Ireland Managing Director Michael Crothers said: “We have always treated the OSSL allegations with the utmost gravity, because they are completely contrary to our company’s business principles.”
“These allegations have impacted negatively and unfairly on members of staff and on local residents. SEPIL co-operated fully with the GSOC investigation and we welcome the findings confirmed to us in writing,” Mr Crothers said.
Note to Editors:
- OSSL was a contractor employed by the Corrib gas project from 2005 to 2010 to provide personal protective safety equipment and to perform and coordinate small-scale contracting works, as a sub-contractor to a main contractor.
- In late 2009/early 2010, SEPIL advised OSSL that its services were no longer required because the main construction work at the Corrib terminal had been completed.
- OSSL subsequently raised a court action claiming that there had been excessive tax with-holding on invoices from 2007. There was a full and final settlement of all claims and contractual matters on 2 August 2012 when a Settlement Agreement was signed by OSSL in the presence of its legal advisers.
- In 2011 – during the contract dispute – OSSL alleged falsification of invoices and further, alleged delivery of alcohol to the Gardaí, as well as non business-related works and gifts for some local residents. OSSL claimed these activities had occurred in 2007. An Garda Síochána were also made aware of the allegations at that time.
- OSSL was asked to supply written evidence (e.g. receipts) to support its allegations but was unable to do so. Given the gravity of the allegations, an independent internal investigation was instigated, during which many people were interviewed, including SEPIL staff, main contractor staff and OSSL themselves. The investigation team did not find any evidence to support OSSL’s allegations.
- OSSL subsequently invoiced SEPIL for the alleged Garda alcohol deliveries. The invoice was generated on August 24, 2012 and sent to SEPIL on that day, for deliveries which it claims were made in 2007. The production of this invoice coincided with the commencement of a campaign by OSSL demanding further monies from SEPIL associated with their former contract despite having signed a full and final settlement agreement on 2 August, 2012.
- Since August 2012, OSSL has sent thousands of emails, conducted public demonstrations, made statements on Facebook and has engaged with various media outlets in relation to its allegations. Emails demanding money have been directed to SEPIL, its staff and Royal Dutch Shell leaders. Emails have also been sent by OSSL to a number of journalists, with many senior Shell staff blind-copied on these emails. Local residents have also received emails.
- At the Royal Dutch Shell AGM in May 2013, a commitment was made for a senior Shell representative from outside Ireland to meet Mr. Kane of OSSL. That meeting took place in early June 2013. No new information was provided by Mr. Kane at that time and SEPIL remains satisfied that the contractual dispute between the two companies has been closed.
- At the Royal Dutch Shell AGM in May 2014, Mr Kane requested another meeting with a Shell representative. The CEO indicated that this would only be appropriate if evidence was first produced to support Mr Kane’s allegations. To date no such evidence has been produced.