Next week 27 people will face hearing in court in relation to protesting against the Shell's inland refinery and experimental pipeline. A week has been put aside in Belmullet District as a Shell to Sea "special sitting" but as Judge Devins said when putting some in some people for hearing dates, “no preduice can be seen because of its being put into the special sitting”.
While the running order of the cases to be heard will be decided at the start of the week, here is a brief run-down on some of the cases.
First of all the cases of the 9 people who are currently barred from County Mayo will be heard. 7 of the 9, had been remanded in custody by Judge Mary Devins despite having no previous convictions. This remanding in custody had then been appealed to the high court, which released that 7 after they had spent 4 or 5 days in jail. On releasing the 3 males involved from Castlerea Prison, Judge Gepffrey Browne stated that the
'Objection to bail was a pure waste of time and money'. Some members of the 9 also had also to judicially review Judge Devins decision not to grant them legal aid and this is what has caused the delay. The cases relate back to the 28th June, and while some relate to lockons and a tripod others were just arrested for being on the public road at the wrong time.
Also up for hearing are 6 people who are charged with theft of the net which had been put up on the cliff at Glengad by Shell to stop the sand martins from nesting there. There is a related case of driving with no insurance for another person.
Also up for hearing is case involving 2 people who are charged with criminal damage to sheep wire fencing on the night that Willie Corduff was beaten up on the Shell site in Glengad.
Also up are 3 people charged blocking roads with their vehicles. One man is also charged with assault of Gardaí in Belmullet courthouse. One man is charged in relation to a tripod on Glengad beach.
Finally, 5 people are charged in relation to incidents around the Glengad site. There is some confusion regarding some of these cases as the initial charges were a common law breach of the peace charge which is being challenged in the high court. One person is now being charged with assault of a Gardaí.
The criminalisation of the people who have spent 10 years trying to highlight health, safety and environmental impacts of the project, along with the total giveaway of our oil & gas is continuing unabated.
At a community meeting last Friday, called to co-ordinate support for Pat O'Donnell while he's in jail, Ed Moran pointed out the hypocrisy of the recent resignation of Trevor Sargent.
Trevor Sargent resigned for making representations on behalf of a constituent involved in a criminal proceedings. Ed Moran stated that a far more serious intervention was made by Bob Hanna who is Chief Technical officer in Eamon Ryan's, Department of Energy. Bob Hanna sent a letter to An Bord Pleanala criticising them on the safety measures they are looking for on Shell's experimental pipeline.
Which is the more serious intervention?
Here are some previous quotes from Eamon Ryan giving out about Bertie interfering with the planning process.
"Anyone who examines from the outside the process that led to a decision being made on the appeal in this instance would agree that it was not conducted in an open and fair manner. ... I have serious concerns that the Government constantly took Shell's side, in effect, throughout this process. ... I contend that he [Taoiseach Bertie Ahern] put remarkable and untold pressure on An Bord Pleanála to accept the Government's will and to do the right thing in this case."
Eamon Ryan in the Dáil on the 24th Nov 2005
Eamon Ryan also said
“The recommendation that the pipeline should be built to a much stricter design code, suitable for a pipeline running through a suburban area, will surely mean that the whole pipeline design will have to be reviewed.”
Why now is his Department lobbying against An Bord Pleanala trying to put stricter safety measures in place?