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Shell to Sea campaigner Niall Harnett sentenced to 5months in jail

category international | rights, freedoms and repression | news report author Tuesday March 23, 2010 14:38author by Starstruck Report this post to the editors

Another Shell to Sea activist given a jail sentence

News just in.
Niall at the Rossport Solidarity Camp
Niall at the Rossport Solidarity Camp

Reports coming in that another Shell to Sea campaigner has been given a prison sentence
Niall Harnett, a resident of the local area has been given a 5 month sentence for protesting against the project.
A futher disgraceful and sad twist in the ongoing struggle.
Solidarity to Niall and to his family and friends..
Shell to Sea!

Related Link:
author by Starstruckpublication date Tue Mar 23, 2010 15:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Update from Shell to Sea Special Court Sittings

Niall Harnett stated in court: “Inspector Doherty, Sgt. Butler and Garda Egan, I am not prepared to apologise for standing up to them, because they are bullies.”

Today at Belmullet District Court, Niall Harnett was sentenced to five months in prison in relation to an alleged assault of three Gardai at the Belmullet courthouse in March of last year. He also had his driving licence revoked for two years for a road traffic offence in April 2009. Mr Harnett will be appealing all of these convictions.

In yesterday’s court, Maura Harrington was aquitted of two charges of blocking a road, while Paul Lynch also had no conviction recorded against him in relation to a similar set of charges. All three are Shell to Sea campaigners fighting the imposition of the disastrous Corrib gas project on the community of Kilcommon in North Mayo(1).

Shell to Sea spokesperson Terence Conway said: “This sentence is further evidence of the selective application of the law in relation to Shell’s project in Erris. While campaigners are receiving heavy jail sentences, the pipeline which Shell have illegally brought on land at Glengad, as ruled by An Bord Pleanàla, remains in place.”

He continued: “The government has indicated that they want this project to go through as a priority, and that the concerns of the local community are a distant second to that. We are being criminalised for standing up to this unsafe, environmentally damaging project, the human rights abuses of the Gardai and Shell security, and a project which also gives away the natural resources of Ireland for a pittance – but our opposition will remain strong.”


For verfication or further comment, please contact:

Terence Conway 086 0866264

Maura Harrington 087 9591474

Notes to editors:

[1] An Bord Pleanala's Corrib Gas ruling:
[2] 130 objections lodged against Shell licence application:

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author by Starstruckpublication date Tue Mar 23, 2010 15:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Niall is appealing his conviction and so has thankfully avoided jail,for now.

author by Menlough - Campaigner Corribpublication date Tue Mar 23, 2010 16:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Niall Harnett is the next person sentenced to 5 months in prison. Why? He is a campaigner against the usurpation of the rights of landowners in the Corrib area who object to the proposed workings of Shell (and who campaigned against work to date carried out by the MNC Shell) at the Corrib and who seeks a fair outcome from the planning permission due.

There is a saying 'Right is Right and wrong is no man's right'. To come to terms with this, it is necessary to have both patience and tolerance and this we have witnessed in those who have supported breaches of natural law at the Corrib, Tara Hill and other projects. Thankfully, Maura Harrington has escaped prison this time but to the others in prison presently, the support is behind your endeavours and those who are committed to the cause are continuing with the 'battle'. There is a book worth reading by Fintan O'Toole - yes the Ship of Fools. For anyone who is conned by the financial and economic catastrophe that has overtaken the Island of Ireland, it is worth reading this book, because in no uncertain terms, it re-focuses one's attention to our ambitions of being a republican nation with the ideals as contained in the proclamation. as distinct from those wizard financial deals by the elite. We have been caught by a global swing of greed with a contingent of powerful financiers with an ability to back horses and greyhounds as a mindset, who believed that they could fix the 'race'. Well some of them are already caught ie US, Italy, France, England and more are in the hands of the Garda Fraud office.

Well they failed and it is now time for the people in Ireland (not the 1% who own vast amounts of the wealth and are tax exiles) to start taking back our rights. We need to learn that wealth is different to income and that wealth remains in the hands of the few versus the many.

Niall and others I hope you can get your hands on the book inside in the prison.

Keep in mind 'The Dream' and use the time to spare yourselves 'the reality of the fight'. Rest and restore your energy. May you enjoy plenty significant moments. This may help you keep your spirits up. Working with prisoners, and working with groups, they were asked what was really important to them while they were doing 'time', the irony is that their answers were mainly the same. When one takes account of the high rates of recidivism and this study, we and the Irish Penal Reform Trust; the lawyers, the Judiciary, and the fraudulent bankers and developers can learn a lot.

The memories were not about big houses, motor cars, clothes, designer labels, champers - it wasn't the lack of internet, or shopping. In fact, a lot of prisoners had a dislike of returning to the rat race of life! The following are the memories that kept their spirits up:-

My kids, my kids, my kids (this was said most often - the touch the sound and the smell - note the senses

my wife girlfriend or partner with the proviso (only one at a time)

Sex (usually accompanied by 'Sorry about this'!)


Walking the Dog especially in the Spring

Being able to go for a walk on my own

Having a night in or out with my mates or girlfriend

Running through the fields

Having a meal with family

Being told off by my Mum

Sitting on the settee surrounded by family

Having a good old row with the Missus

Going down a Street where people know me

Seeing someone smile at me and mean it

Ex: Discover your inner sloth by gillian is about enjoying the leisurely dynamic and banish stress from your life and relationships!!!!

What a learning curve? Niall you are focused and you aim to achieve something similar to W.B. Yeats to hurl the little streets upon the great or words to that effect.

I hope some members of our ruling classes take time to read this and learn what incarceration 'can mean to prisoners and re-orientate their comprehension and understand to a fairer system of justice. There are a lot of people who need to re-focus from the hectic life style to near Zen focus.


author by Wonderingpublication date Tue Mar 23, 2010 20:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Will the appeal be a "trial by jury" type of court hearing, or will it be a "trial by judge" arrangement? -- in other words a "Kangaroo Court" where the outcome is all fully decided (behind the scenes) days, weeks, or months perhaps, before the actual day of the hearing?

author by Well Wisherpublication date Wed Mar 24, 2010 09:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

With regard to "trial by judge" arrangements, it might also be well worth keeping in mind what Thomas Jefferson -- one of the most talented, experienced, and well-respected lawyers of all time -- had to say on the subject:

"I consider Trial by Jury as the ONLY anchor yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution".

Related Link:

author by old codger - pensionerpublication date Wed Mar 24, 2010 14:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It is no coincedence that RTE news on tuesday evening showed a clip of Nial, announcing his sentence and also the Fianna Fail judge's comments designed to slur his character and portray him as a violent person. There was no mention of the other brave people being victimised by deliberate state corruption.
RTE like every other state institution is under the controll of Fianna Fail and all the political parties know it.
Stll they allow political crimes to be commited and innocent citizens to be demonised and criminalised in the eyes of the public.
I suppose that we should not be surprised that a government that allows foriegn Balkan merceneries to abuse and commit crimes against Irish citizens, would keep up a vendetta against people brave enough to try and stop their criminality.
As the broadcasting complaints commission is subject to Fianna Fail like the Garda ombudsman they have total controll on whatever they do to citizens.

author by Fearbolg - S2Spublication date Wed Mar 24, 2010 18:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It's 25 years since Burke signed away our natural resourses; it's 15 since the discovery of Corrib. In all of that time, in spite of their

best efforts against us, neither Shell nor the Leinster House Mafia have been able to generate enough gas to blow a hole in their

shorts. And all the while, the act of treason that is the Great Gas Giveaway is receiving more and more attention and generating ever-

greater outrage. .

This has been brought about by the selfless efforts of us locals and our friends at the camp, amongst others. Not least amongst

these is Niall Harnett. If Niall is a fake and a poser, I'd like to order 500 more of the same for tomorrow morning.

The Shell/Government nexus is in real trouble now as regards Corrib; that's why the hysterical posters have returned. They thought it

was all over. How wrong can you be? Welcome back, lads. We kicked your arses before and we'll do it again. So take a deep breath


author by Martha - shell to sea Gortpublication date Thu Mar 25, 2010 09:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Solidarity with Niall and Carol at this sad time.
What you are doing and have done in Erris is coming from the right place, and a lot of people admire you all in Erris for that. There are not right or wrongs when we are acting in the name of love/solidarity/compassion. There are mistakes that lead us to a better understanding of who we are, those mistakes shape our personalities, they are part of our own and collective paths.
Lots of love to you Niall, keep strong and focus.

author by old codger - pensionerpublication date Thu Mar 25, 2010 11:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

When Gardai assault and abuse peacefull demonstrators then deliberately lie in court they shame themselves and their country.
When Fianna Fail appointed judges combine with these gardai to convict innocent people they make a mockery of Ireland's justice system
When Fianna Fail politicians give away Ireland's natural resources and make secret deals with multinational foriegn companies
Then abuse Irish citizens by denying civil rights and the right to international law ( the Aarhus agreement) they commit treason.
Whether you agree with S2S methods is not important.

author by nipperpublication date Thu Mar 25, 2010 14:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Please join FREE NIALL HARNETT on facebook

author by Limerick supporterpublication date Thu Mar 25, 2010 15:27author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Niall - I only met you a couple of times, but you're a good scout and you've given years to this. I'd echo the sentiments expressed above here by Fearbolg and also echo what Menlough said about taking the time (if they do falsely imprison you) to rest. The pendulum now seems to be swinging against the supposedly all-powerful interest groups (shell, the green/ff so-called government and the press). Keep it up man! Keep it up! Good luck in the appeal.

author by Fearbolg - S2Spublication date Fri Mar 26, 2010 01:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Read about the collapse today in Belmullet courthouseof ALL the cases brought against protesters and you will find

that the Garda do indeed have a very strong opinion, and it's not ours. I've lived through every day of this for the past ten years, so I feel I'm

entitled to comment. Where do you derive your particular knowledge from?

author by Fearbolg - S2Spublication date Fri Mar 26, 2010 17:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I also have very strong opinions about violations of the legal process, namely the regular and habitual Garda perjury that passes

for 'evidence' at every sitting of Belmullet court, but if I hit a man with a baton to enforce that opinion I'd rightly be jailed. I don't see many

Garda getting time for reinforcing their particular line of argument with regular violence. Instead they got paid overtime. A real supporter

of our cause would know this. I got three seperate hidings from the guards for simply being a known opponent of the project, with no

charges ever brought against me. You might be a supporter of this campaign but I doubt if you were one of the people who picked me

up afterwards. If you were you'd know very well that when Big Oil came in the door any semblance of Garda impartiality went out the

window. I know of three people who have permanent, disabling injuries because of their treatmant at the hands of the guards. Not one

of them has any form of criminal record and nor have I. On one of the days I was assaulted by 2 Garda, a man walked down the street in

Moyross firing an automatic weapon like he was in Afghanistan. Not too many Garda heroes around Limerick that day. Let me know if

you can identify a certain pattern emerging here, but don't be an apologist for a force of men whom we've all seen beating women and

old men.

author by Menlough - The Corrib and the Giveaway Cost of our natural resourcespublication date Sun Apr 04, 2010 16:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Ireland today is on its knees.

Really pleased for Niall Harnett and others that the prosecutions and prison have been cast aside with a lash of a pen. Yes people and their opinions still count.

Well done to all the supporters but where to now?

It was the 'sea' and 'up to the shorelines' that secured our place in the EEC in 1974 and let us remember this.

Ireland has access to sea in that it is an Island making it quite unique. People are today consumed with fear about what is to happen but let them also use the fear to seek solutions and one solution we need is an answer to the Corrib and the real value of our natural resources. It is costing the State huge sums of money to keep Garda security available as well as the private security firms. This is a nonsense surely. The Government have the means to re-activate this 'arrangement/contract' with the like of Shell and the Corrib. Otherwise, through ineptitude we, the people of Ireland, face the stark alternative - yes people like the IMF and the ECB can take over and start running Ireland along the lines of a 'Balance Sheet procedure' but note because we are now on our knees economically it would be an Ireland with limited power. We should look to Iceland and how it is negotiating between the peoples wishes and the need to join the EC. They are not selling their soul. They are negotiating. They too are valuable to the EU - they share with us access to the sea - yes, fish, oil, aquaculture, minerals, seaweed, phosphate and so much we have yet to learn about.

Well done Niall and others. Keep up the good work but lets keep security costs low as Ireland south can no longer afford to pay. However, if we can negotiate and revalue our natural resources from the 1970's deal of a submissive Irish people, then there is hope and hope is what we need to buy into.

Menlough and Galway

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