Casey was responding to the sentencing of Niall Harnett, who received a 6-month sentence for going to the assistance of a fellow protester who was being assaulted by a Garda. He also received a 5-month sentence to run concurrently.
Casey said: “The jailing of Niall Harnett is totally unjustified. This is just the latest in a long line of attempts by the state to remove and jail key activists opposed to Shell's pipeline and the giveaway of our natural resources.”
He added: “Niall's jailing, as with the Rossport five, as with Maura Harrington on a number of occasions in the past and as with Pat O'Donnell who is also currently being held in Castlerea prison, is designed to disrupt the campaign to stop an unsafe pipeline being forced through the local community by Shell. It is the continuation of this states' attempts, at the behest of Shell, to suppress all forms of peaceful, legitimate protest by the local community.”
“These jailings and the policing of demonstrations against Shell have exposed the reality that this state has colluded at every level, political, policing and judicial, in denying their own citizens' basic civil and human rights, in order to protect the status quo and the interests, financial and ideological, of the wealthy political and business elite.”
He concluded: “The reign of Shell law and the intimidation, assault and jailing of activists engaged in legitimate protests in north Mayo must be ended. Niall Harnett should be released immediately, as should fellow Shell to Sea activist Pat O'Donnell. ”