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Court Report from Mayo

category mayo | rights, freedoms and repression | feature author Monday February 15, 2010 12:07author by Shelver - Rossport Solidarity Camp Report this post to the editors

Pat O’Donnell jailed as Shell Prepare for Extensive work in Broadhaven Bay

featured image
Are you sure the right person was sent to jail?

Yesterday in Castlebar circuit court, appeals involving Shell to Sea campaigners were concluded or deferred, with no further prison sentences being handed out. This follows the jailing on Wednesday of local fisherman Pat O’Donnell, who was sentenced to 7 months in jail for convictions of “breach of the peace” and of "obstructing a Garda".

In total 21 people appeared before Mayo courts this week in relation to protests against the Corrib Gas Project. On Wednesday all fourteen campaigners who appeared before Belmullet district court had their cases adjourned until the special Shell to Sea sitting scheduled for March. From Tuesday to Thursday seven campaigners were involved in appeal cases before Judge Raymond Groarke in Castlebar Circuit Court.

Commenting on the jailing of Pat O’Donnell, 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”

The co-accused had their jail sentences successfully repealed. Gary Bohan instead recieved a €200 fine and Martin McDonnell recieved a 4 month jail sentence, suspended for 2 years with a bond to keep the peace. From the same event Tony King and Kevin Moran both had fines of €700 reduced to €500.

Terence Conway - who had faced a driving ban of four years for allegedly leaving the scene of an accident – was acquitted. Commenting on his vindication he said: “I am happy with the outcome of this case. It is clear that I have been selectively targeted by the Gardaí for my opposition to the Corrib Gas Project. My thoughts are with Pat O’ Donnell for whom justice has been denied”.

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 pipe-laying 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.

Story of the sinking of the Chief’s boat:

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”

Maura Harrington had faced 19 months imprisonment for district court convictions. Yesterday, a conviction of assault on a Shell security guard was dropped. The penalty for an obstruction conviction was reduced from a custodial sentence to a 2 year driving disqualification. Dangerous driving convictions were reduced to careless driving, resulting in a 6 month disqualification. Curiously, sentencing for convictions of trespass and cutting of nets were put off for 12 months.

Niall Harnett successfully appealed a conviction of obstruction. A conviction of assault on a Garda was upheld resulting in a sentence of 4 months imprisonment being reduced to 240 hours community service.

Commenting after court Maura Harrington said: “In November last year An Bord Pleanála vindicated our campaign by rejecting Shell’s planned onshore pipeline, and the legality of any installation above the high water mark at Glengad is questionable. We will continue our campaign for the protection of our communities and the country’s natural resources.”

To send letters of support to the Chief write to:
Pat O’Donnell,
Castlerea Prison,
Co. Roscommon.

Related Link:

Leaving castlebar Garda barracks
Leaving castlebar Garda barracks

Unjustly sent to Castlerea for 7 months
Unjustly sent to Castlerea for 7 months

 #   Title   Author   Date 
   Neither fear nor favour>>>     paul o toole    Fri Feb 12, 2010 16:18 
   .     Michael Gallagher    Fri Feb 12, 2010 18:51 
   Public Meeting..     eco joe    Fri Feb 12, 2010 18:59 
   .     .    Fri Feb 12, 2010 19:15 
   Verbal abuse in and out of Court     observer    Fri Feb 12, 2010 21:00 
   too thick     A McCabe    Sat Feb 13, 2010 10:41 
   Shell To Sea Situation     Puzzled    Sat Feb 13, 2010 12:17 
   Kudos to all....     V for vendetta    Sat Feb 13, 2010 14:30 
   Irish Republicans in America Support     NIFC    Sun Feb 14, 2010 02:51 
 10   Travesty of justice     Enraged    Mon Feb 15, 2010 18:31 
 11   Behaviour of judge     Justice??!!    Mon Feb 15, 2010 19:53 
 12   Do the crime do the time     the realist    Wed Feb 17, 2010 22:43 
 13   Quote     Maura Harrington    Thu Feb 18, 2010 00:05 
 14   Solidarity with Pat in Castlerea     Living in Rossport    Fri Feb 19, 2010 02:41 
 15   email to Eamon Ryan     Charlie    Fri Feb 26, 2010 04:51 
 16   Response to Realist     Undecided    Sun Mar 07, 2010 01:01 

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