Pat O'Donnell jailed for 7 months for opposing Shell
By: Shell to Sea
Shell to Sea campaigner and local fisherman Pat O Donnell (52) was sentenced to 7 months in jail after being found guilty of an alleged “breach of the peace” and allegedly "obstructing a Garda".
In total 21 people appeared before Mayo courts today in relation to protests against the Corrib Gas Project. Fourteen campaigners appeared before Belmullet District court which were all adjourned until March, while seven were involved in appeal cases before Judge Raymond Groarke in Castlebar Circuit Court.
Commenting on the jailing, Shell to Sea spokesperson Terence Conway stated “Once again the jailing of Pat O Donnell shows selective prosecution on behalf of the Gardaí. Pat O Donnell was picked out of a crowd of 60 people. The sentences are totally disproportionate to any alleged law-breaking and seem to be a punishment for opposing the Governments' facilitation of Shell“
On 11th June 2009, Pat O'Donnell's boat was sunk by 4 armed and masked men in Broadhaven Bay. Later that month both Pat O'Donnell and his son Jonathan were arrested in Broadhaven Bay just prior to the arrival of Shell's pipelaying vessel, the Solitaire. Both fishermen's boats were impounded, yet no charges were brought against Pat and charges were later dropped against Jonathan. Almost identical arrests occurred in 2008 again just prior to the Solitaire's arrival.
Mr Conway continued “Pat O'Donnell has been a constant thorn in Shell's side as he has refused to be bought off, and has upheld his legal and traditional right to fish in Broadhaven Bay. Now, as Shell prepare to occupy Broadhaven Bay in the coming months for further pipeline work, Pat O Donnell is conveniently stuck in jail”
Commenting on this weeks court proceedings, Maura Harrington stated “Gardaí battered and brutalised people under the 2006 'no-arrest policy', now in 2010, they are also putting selected people in jail. However we will continue our campaign and its heartening to see our support growing.”
Other sentences for local campaigners today included:
Niall Harnett: 240 hours community service.
Martin McDonnell: 4 month jail sentence, suspended for 2 years with a bond to keep the peace.
Tony King and Kevin Moran: both received fines of €500.