I have the same issue that I've been procrastinating doing. I've torn my hands all up during a first attempt at removing the broken mesh, and got one or two clips un-clipped and then stopped because it was getting late and I was worried about breaking a clip.
Is it possible to not only cut out the mesh part, but to actually cut the outside "ring" of plastic into pieces so they can be unclipped piece by piece?
Last question - does the mesh serve any purpose other than keeping leaves and large, lightweight objects off the intercooler? Would it be problematic not to have it there at all?