Independent Media Centre Ireland

Shell to Sea spokesperson sentenced to prison

category mayo | environment | news report author Wednesday February 22, 2012 22:54author by j debender - Rossport Solidarity Campauthor address Aughoose, between Bellanaboy and Pullathomasauthor phone 0851141170

A mid-week update on Special Sitting for Corrib campaigners in Belmullet district court

On Tuesday Shell to Sea spokesperson Terence Conway was handed two 3-month prison sentences for protesting against Shell's Corrib Gas Project. Throughout the week local residents have been protesting on the roads while many of their supporters are up in court in Belmullet, which so far has resulted in fines totalling 5,825 euro.
Locals show their solidarity with many from the Rossport Solidarity Camp who are in court
Locals show their solidarity with many from the Rossport Solidarity Camp who are in court

As of Wednesday evening, there are still 2 more people to go with 21 charges between them. So far 12 people have been convicted of 33 charges with fines totaling 5,825 euro. One person was given a 2 month prison sentence suspended for 12 months in exchange for signing a bond to the peace. Terence Conway, Shell to Sea spokesperson and local resident was given two 3 month prison sentences to be served concurrently, but he is currently out on bail pending an appeal in the circuit court.

With a few exceptions, most cases so far have been straightforward Public Order Sections 8&9 for blocking roads. Everyone who pled not-guilty got convicted and fined, and most who pled guilty got the Probation Act (no conviction) or got their case struck out entirely (with a 200 euro donation to a charity).

A few interesting details about court:

The last case to be heard on Monday resulted in a conviction and fine, despite what looked like very clear video footage refuting the charge. There were numerous contradictions in garda evidence, one in particular which caused major concern about garda conduct of the case. The case will be appealed in the circuit court.

During Shell to Sea spokesperson Terence Conway's case on Tuesday, Mr. Conway spoke and gave evidence about the injustices faced by the community in Erris, including a clip of footage from the well known incident at McGrath's pier. Mr Conway stated that “What we have been subjected to by the actions of Shell and the State is worthy of a dictatorship. The police are working as an arm of the oil companies.” When the Judge responded that “This is a law-abiding country and there is justice for all in the country,” about 25 local residents and supporters walked out of the courtroom in protest. When a handful re-entered the courtroom and stood with their backs to the Judge in defiance, gardaí were fairly heavy handed in throwing them out of the courtroom without any formal request from the judge to do so or orders of contempt of court. Soon after, about 15-20 extra gardaí arrived on the scene and blocked off the entrance to the courtroom. The crowd waited in the lobby of the courthouse waiting for the case to finish surrounded by a circle of gardaí, and no one was allowed back inside.

On Wednesday a stenographer was disallowed from making an audio recording of the court proceedings, despite this being common practice. When asked for a reason by the defence council, the Judge ruled that he did not want it falling into 'the wrong hands.'

Also on Wednesday one person's criminal damage charges were dropped after a director of IRMS security testifying against the defendant changed his story in court regarding evidence. The Shell security initially claimed he had detailed notes taken of the incident, and later admitted that he had no such notes.

A few details from this week outside of court:

On Monday local residents blocked Shell's haulage route between Bellanaboy refinery and the compound in Glengad while many of their supporters were up in court.

On Tuesday morning as people from the Rossport Solidarity Camp were coming out onto the road getting ready to leave for court, a group of about 20 gardaí arrived to clear the road for a Shell convoy returning from the compound in Glengad. People were pushed back through the gates to the camp and one person's walking stick was taken off him and thrown into a ditch. When the person went to retrieve it they were held face down into briars in the ditch for over a minute while the convoy passed (see photos).

Also on Tuesday, a group of local residents were on the Shell haulage route waiting to block a convoy. After awhile when none came, people dispersed to bring their children to school and it was during school pick-up time that the convoy passed. In Shell's traffic management plan, the convoys are not meant to use the road during times when many locals use the road such as funerals and school pick-up times.

On Wednesday morning before court a group of local residents arrived to the Rossport Solidarity Camp to show their solidarity with the many people up in court for supporting the community of Erris and taking action against Shell.

Stay tuned through and twitter as court continues this week. 21 charges between 2 people are left to be dealt with.

Related Link:

Gathering in the road outside the Rossport Solidarity Camp
Gathering in the road outside the Rossport Solidarity Camp

Person being pushed out of the road by Gardaí
Person being pushed out of the road by Gardaí

Gardaí clearing the way for Shell's convoy
Gardaí clearing the way for Shell's convoy

Gardaí working hard for Shell. That gate is the entrance to the camp
Gardaí working hard for Shell. That gate is the entrance to the camp

Comments (15 of 15)

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author by photopublication date Wed Feb 22, 2012 23:00author address author phone


Person being held down in the brambles while Shell's convoy passes
Person being held down in the brambles while Shell's convoy passes

author by Errispublication date Thu Feb 23, 2012 12:56author address author phone

solidarity from athens

author by MIm from Broome Western Australia - Broome No Gaspublication date Thu Feb 23, 2012 14:23author address author phone

You’re all very brave individuals who fight for your rights! Never give up! “From little things big things grow”! You can win this! I have a beautiful friend, he is an ex-riot squat here in Australia, he shares many horrendous stories about what is going on in the force and how police are trained to simply take orders and no question asked. I am proud to say that now; he fights with us, against Shell, Woodside, BHP, BP and Chevron here in Broome Western Australia! People who still believe, without questioning anything big companies or authorities say, are lost souls! Why do people without question believe any report from Shell and the like or Police???? Why??? Because they said so???? Wake up!! Big companies are there for the money and money lies....and police sadly are robots...and the really bad ones even enjoy it! Asking question is scary, but it is the only way. Keep going!

author by Justin Morahanpublication date Thu Feb 23, 2012 21:46author address author phone

Are there any brave men and women in the Garda who will stand against other Garda and Shell heavy handed tactics and worse? Any Bradley Mannings? Any whistle-blowers?

To the protestors: Solidarity in all your non-violent, brave and noble protest.

author by ailispublication date Fri Feb 24, 2012 17:12author address author phone

The hypocracy of the present justice minister in allowing the continuation of brutal policing
of Erris thus denying the democratic right to protest without fear and intimidation.
The Aarhus convention would have allowed meaningful public participation in environmental matters,despite having signed up to this Ireland has never ratified it.
The non -violent actions of a community asserting their right to protest,to live in a safe environment, These people who risk their lives daily stand for all that is good in this world.
To those politicians who swapped their consciences for temporary "glory"shame,shame on you.

author by MKpublication date Fri Feb 24, 2012 21:36author address author phone

Is any of this getting onto the mainstream where most of the population get their information dropped into their heads enmasse ?

author by MKpublication date Fri Feb 24, 2012 21:46author address author phone

I suppose to be more accurate it is the control and regulation of information, who gets told, when, and about what, that is the lynch-pin in the apparatus of control and containment.

So bloody obvious but so often forgotten to link the new with the old media especially in advertising the former.

author by Andrewpublication date Fri Feb 24, 2012 22:04author address author phone

Press releases have being going out on these cases from last week and I know complaints have gone into RTE about their lack of coverage

author by Eileen Rochepublication date Mon Feb 27, 2012 23:09author email eileen1r at eircom dot netauthor address Graiguenamanagh Co. phone 059 9724606

We are paying over a 100 thousand euro to the gardai who protect Shell, this is wrong for a start. One of the biggests companies in the world and they do not need to employ thier own bouncers, why should they, our own gardai are doing a great job for them. The only country in the world where protesters have been peaceful, the gardai should be grateful for that alone, so why are they using the rough tactics again the people, they should stand aside and let the people protest....unless there is some hidden agenda between government, judges and Shell. That I could well believe. Good luck to the people involved and imprisoned, and hopefully many more will get involved with you. You are doing this for all the citizens in this country, keep up the good work. Our legal / justice systems stinks.

author by dickmacken - nonepublication date Wed Feb 29, 2012 22:03author email dickmacken at gmail dot comauthor address noneauthor phone none


I thought that this racket was all over and done with!

Judging from the lack of national coverage in the regular media, it is obvious that the public interest in this schoolyard scrap has waned.

There are more pressing things for the ordinary joe to be dealing with, what with the economy in dire straits, sovereignty lost and the country in hock.

It seems pointless to be continuing this campaign when the entire country and its citizens are now virtually under foreign control and little more than a colony of debtors to foreign capitalist states.

This campaign is like having lost several billion Euro and found a few cents.

Wake up, please, the whole dam' herd of horses has bolted!!

See the bigger picture and forget these silly local rows!!

author by Who's thepublication date Thu Mar 01, 2012 05:01author address author phone

Who's the Judge in these cases?

author by pumpedpublication date Thu Mar 01, 2012 06:32author address author phone

"Judging from the lack of national coverage in the regular media, it is obvious that the public interest in this schoolyard scrap has waned.
There are more pressing things for the ordinary joe to be dealing with, what with the economy in dire straits, sovereignty lost and the country in hock."

no. it is obvious that the media have gone out of their way to bury this matter.

The economic situation makes it all the more important that Ireland take control of its oil and gas resources for its own use. There are billions worth of gas and oil off the coast. We're giving it away for nothing at present to a private corporation.

This campaign is the only real sustained resistance there has been to the corporate corruption of our political and judicial system and the systematic stealing of potential oil/gas wealth from the Irish people.

It is not a question of giving up. The Shell to sea campaign is a source of inspiration and experience in the future resistance to come against the bankster occupation of our country. We should not stop. In fact we should rally around it and make it a symbolic victory for people power.

author by W. Finnertypublication date Thu Mar 01, 2012 18:10author address author phone

I suspect it's much more likely to be trillions (not billions) of Euros worth of Republic of Ireland oil and gas resources we're talking about, and such views are supported by reports like that at for example, which is titled:

"SITTING ON A FORTUNE; EXCLUSIVE EUR5trillion Oil Field Could Defeat Recession but Gloom Grows"

Suggestion: Google a few slightly different versions of the title just above, with and without the inverted commas, for additional information on this subject.

Related link:

author by W. Finnertypublication date Fri Mar 02, 2012 13:39author address author phone

"This bond doth give thee here no jot of oil;
 The words expressly are 'a pound of flesh.'"

The above is a very slightly edited version of a "Merchant of Venice" quote at:

Related link:

author by jpublication date Mon Mar 05, 2012 00:58author address author phone

victor blake was the name of the judge. and by the way, the last two people whose cases were heard at the end of the week both ended up with suspended sentances.

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