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Press Notice: Community of Erris to rally to the support of jailed fisherman Pat ‘The Chief’ O’Donnell

Press Notice
Rally, 12 noon, Sunday 28th February 2010
Porturlin Pier to Ballyglass Pier
Issued by Shell to Sea

Community of Erris to rally to the support of jailed fisherman Pat
‘The Chief’ O’Donnell

Tomorrow, Sunday 28th February, will see a rally in support of Pat
O’Donnell, who is in Castlerea Prison for seven months, for opposing
Shell’s destruction of his traditional fishing grounds and the
giveaway of Ireland’s oil and gas resources.

Pat O’Donnell, who was awarded for bravery for saving the life of a
Garda in a sea rescue in 1997, was jailed two weeks ago for minor
public order offences.  His was one of 30 cases of local people heard
in the courts that week.

Maura Harrington criticised the criminalisation of the local community
saying, “It is clear that certain members of our community, including
Pat, have been singled out for their principled and effective
opposition to Shell.  We wish Pat all the best, and we’ll double our
efforts while he is away!”

Pat himself said last June, “Shell has no legal recourse to prevent me
fishing in the waters that my family have been fishing for
generations.  The only way Shell can secure the access they require to
complete their work at sea is if I’m safely out of the way in prison.”

In other news, over 1,000 people attending a fishing trade expo at
Salthill, Co. Galway this weekend,  signed a petition calling for an
immediate suspension of Shell’s work in Mayo pending a full
investigation.

In the last week, 200 objections were submitted to John Gormley’s
Department of the Environment against Shell’s application for a
Foreshore licence to drill in Sruwaddacon Bay.

ENDS

For further information or verification please contact:
Mayo Shell to Sea spokesperson Maura Harrington

Note to Editors:

Mr. O’Donnell is a prominent member of the Shell to Sea campaign which
has emphasised the significant health and safety problems with Shell’s
proposed refinery and onshore experimental pipeline in Erris, Co.
Mayo.

The Shell to Sea campaign has also highlighted the giveaway of
Ireland’s large oil and gas resources.  The Department of
Communications, Energy and Natural Resources estimates that off the
West Coast of Ireland alone there are 10 billion barrels of oil
equivalent, with a worth of over €500 billion. Under current policy,
once an oil and gas company has found oil or gas, it owns it, with no
royalties being returned to the Irish State.  Ireland will also
receive no energy security from these resources as the state will have
to bid on the international market to buy these resources back.