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Shell to Sea Activists Imprisoned – Protests Continue

31/07/09

A dozen éirígí activists last night [Thursday] participated in a protest outside Mountjoy Jail, Dublin in response to the jailing of Shell to Sea activists Maura Harrington and Niall Harnett earlier in the day.

The pair were both jailed for acts of civil disobedience related to their peaceful opposition to Shell Oil’s controversial Corrib gas project when they appeared at Belmullet District Court, County Mayo. In Harrington’s case, her failure “to comply with the directions of a Garda” earned her four months in Mountjoy. Niall received two four-month sentences following convictions under the public order act and a spurious charge of assaulting a Garda.

Protest outside Mountjoy Jail

Calling for their immediate release, éirígí chairperson Brian Leeson said: “The sentences that Maura Harrington and Niall Harnett received yesterday are part of an ongoing attempt by the Twenty-Six County state to intimidate the Shell the Sea campaign and the residents of north-west Mayo - attempts which will ultimately prove futile.

“Maura and Niall are not guilty of any crime. What they are guilty of is standing up for the safety of the Erris community and demanding that the natural resources of Ireland be used for the benefit of the Irish people. Unfortunately, in today’s Ireland this has become a punishable offence.

Protest outside Mountjoy Jail

“Earlier this month, the Dublin government released a report which recommended sweeping cuts to the public service. Today, agents of that government jailed two people for participating in a campaign that is calling for the wealth generated by the Corrib gas to be used for the funding of public services. It is clear that Fianna Fáil cares more about Shell Oil than it does about Irish citizens.”

Brian concluded: “éirígí commends those who gathered outside Mountjoy jail last night to demand the immediate release of Maura and Niall. As long as they remain incarcerated, they will be a symbol of the Twenty-Six County government’s warped priorities - which place the interests of private companies over the rights of citizens.”

Protest outside Mountjoy Jail

Latest Update:
Maura Harrington was released on bail this morning (Friday) pending an appeal against her four month jail sentence. Niall Harnett remains incarcerated in Castlerea prison. Those wishing to show solidarity with Niall can write to him at:

Niall Harnett,
Castlerea Prison,
Harristown,
Castlerea,
Co. Roscommon

 

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