Half a dozen éirígí activists joined more than forty people in a solidarity picket outside of Dublin’s Mountjoy Prison on Friday evening [June 25]. The event was organised at very short notice as word came from Mayo that Maura Harrington was once again in Garda custody and en route to the women’s prison in the capital.
The veteran Shell to Sea campaigner had been arrested earlier in the day as she left a funeral in her native Doohoma, County Mayo. This is the fifth time that Maura has been imprisoned by the Twenty-Six County authorities in the last eighteen months. On this occasion the pretext for her arrest and jailing was the non-payment of fines which had been issued in relation to the ongoing Corrib protests.
Maura joins two other Shell to Sea activists who are currently imprisoned at the behest of Shell, one of the world’s largest private energy corporations. Pat ‘The Chief’ O’Donnell and Niall Harnett are both serving their sentences in Castlerea Prison in County Roscommon.
Speaking in relation to this latest jailing of a Shell to Sea campaigner, Cathaoirleach éirígí Brian Leeson said: “Over the course of the last five years Shell and the Twenty Six County authorities have used every trick in the book to break Shell to Sea and the wider campaign against the giveaway of Ireland’s natural resources. High court injunctions, intimidation, threats and physical attack have all been deployed in an attempt to break the will of those who dare to resist the might of the Shell and Dublin government partnership.
“And now we are seeing Irish citizens being sentenced to lengthy periods of incarceration to facilitate Shell in its pillaging of the Corrib gas reserve. Pat, Niall and Maura are all to be commended for the resolve that they have shown in the face of such tactics.
“It is clear that Shell have very long term plans for their Irish operations. Earlier this week Shell confirmed that they have begun fresh drilling for gas in the vicinity of the Corrib field. Just three days ago Shell announced that is was about to being exploratory works on the proposed tunnel under Sruwaddacon Bay.”
Leeson concluded, “The people of Ireland now need to develop some long term plans of their own, plans which will see the natural resources of this country taken back from the corporations, to be used for the benefit of the many not the few.”
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