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Taking on Shell Oil in Ireland: The Strange Saga of Pat O’Donnell

Michael McCaughan - Towards Freedom

"Civil disobedience is not our problem....Our problem is civil obedience... Our problem is that people are obedient all over the world, in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves, and all the while the grand thieves are running the country." - Howard Zinn, US historian,1924-2010

Mayo fisherman Pat O’Donnell, described by Judge Raymond Groarke as a thug and a bully, was jailed for seven months in Castlebar Court in February for his activism against Shell’s planned gas pipeline through his community. For most people observing from afar, with little more than tabloid headlines to feed on, the story ended there. Strange then that Pat’s home has been besieged by well wishers, the phone has been hopping and over 600 letters of support have been sent from around the world. Strange too that Pat’s daughter Aisling received gifts sent from well wishers in London for her recent 9th birthday, a reminder that in jailing Pat the state has also punished his wife and children. Strange also that the ‘thug and bully’ should be visited by two priests from his home area bringing messages of support from the community while Socialist MEP Joe Higgins called in to denounce the jailing as “an outrage.”

Prosecutions of Shell to Sea campaigners collapse

Andrew Flood - WSM - Indymedia

25 out of 27 people prosecuted for resisting Shell’s experimental gas pipeline have cases withdrawn or dismissed

Around the time of the visit of Shell’s pipe-laying ship the Solitaire in June it became clear that the Gardai had been told that they could do anything to remove Shell to Sea campaigners from the scene and they would be looked after. Rulings from the district court, in particular the denial of bail to 7 campaigners charged with the most minor of public order offences removed people with vital water skills from the area by interning them in Mountjoy and Castlerea prisons. Local fisherman Pat O’Donnell had one of his boat sunk from underhim when four masked men boarded the boat in the middle of the night and held Pat and the other crew member at gun point while they sabotaged the boat leading to its sinking. When Pat took to sea in another boat as the Solitaire arrived he was arrested under the Public Order Act for loitering and once more sent to prison leaving the way clear for the Solitaire.

National Protest at Castlerea for Pat O' Donnell

National Protest for Pat ( The Chief ) O' Donnell
Saturday 27th March 3:30pm, Castlerea prison, Co. Roscommon.


27 March 2010 - 3:30pm

Update from Belmullet Court

Shell to Sea

Rally for jailed fisherman Pat O'Donnell at Castlerea Prison, Sat 27th March, 3.30pm


Court on Thursday:

The 19 people who had cases outstanding had their charges either dismissed or dropped. 

Judge Haughton ruled that Eoin Lawless had been "unlawfully detained" by Gardaí and dismissed his charges.  Due to this, another 8 related cases were subsequently withdrawn by the State. 

Read more here: &

London demo in support of Pat O'Donnell

S - ShelltoSea - Indymedia

With Erris fisherman Pat O'Donnell into his second month in Castlerea Prison, UK Shell to Sea supporters held a demonstration outside the Irish Embassy.

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