Sligo éirígí activist Gerry Casey has described the jailing of Shell to Sea campaigner Maura Harrington as a deliberate attempt by the state to silence opposition to the give away of Ireland’s natural resources to Shell and has called for her immediate release. He also claimed that her arrest and detention are probably timed to coincide with the likely commencement by Shell of fresh efforts to lay the pipe-line to Glengad beach in north Mayo which had to be abandoned last year.
Maura was arrested on Wednesday and sentenced to 28 days in Mountjoy Jail. Maura spoke at a public meeting at the City Hotel in Sligo last month. At that meeting she warned of Shell’s plans to recommence efforts to lay the pipeline in March or April of this year and that intensified efforts by the state against Shell to Sea activists would be made to try to prevent protests.
Casey said: “It looks increasingly likely that Shell are now planning to commence work yet again at Glengad Special Area of Conservation. They had to abandon their efforts last year following protests and a hunger strike undertaken by Maura. We believe that this arrest is a deliberate effort by the state to assist Shell by removing one of the most active and vociferous campaigners against them. Her detention isn’t the first time the state has jailed campaigners to try to defeat opposition to the give away of our valuable natural resources to Shell. The Rossport Five spent over three months in jail back in 2005 for the brave stance they also took against Shell.”
He added: “Maura must be released immediately. A public inquiry must also be established to investigate fully the true extent of the role played by the Gardaí as enforcers for Shell and to probe the countless abuses, including physical assaults, which campaigners claim that Gardaí have inflicted on protestors.”
He concluded: “It is long past time for the Fianna Fáil-led administration to take the massive amount of gas reserves currently at the mercy of Shell’s greed back under state control and to use the proceeds for the benefit of the people of Ireland. The wealth generated should be utilised to provide investment in efficient and effective health and education systems for all, to redress the neglect by the state of the north-west region and to end fuel poverty. Send Shell to hell – nationalise the Corrib gas.”