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Keep Out of Prison

 Keep Out of Prison
“Keep out of prison” he wrote
“Don’t get arrested anymore”
But while the land is ravaged
And our pure air poisoned
When streams choke with pollution
Silence would be treason
Punishable by a term in prison

                                                      Ken Saro Wiwa


This week, 25 people will appear in court in connection with charges relating to their opposition to the Corrib Gas Project.  The courts are on Monday, 7th, Tuesday, 8th, Wednesday, 9th, Thursday, 10th of December in Belmullet District Court and in Ballina District Court on Tuesday 8th.  On the 16th December, 3 more local people will appear before the District Court in Castlebar.

It is clear from the people who have received summonses lately that the Gardaí are selecting out people that they wish to target.

Included among the 24, are 4 local women who are being charged with theft of netting that had been put up to stop sandmartins from nesting on the cliffs on Glengad beach. Also summonsed to appear on this charge is a local landowner, through whose land Shell propose to lay their ultra-high pressure pipeline. That these 5 people have been singled out for special treatment is evident from the fact that the bird-netting on the cliffs of Glengad had been taken down numerous times both this year and last yet only 6 people have so far received summonses in relation to the bird-netting. On 26th April, the Sunday after the attack on Willie Corduff up to 150 people, mostly from the local area, removed the netting from the cliffs in broad daylight. No summonses have been handed out for this day.

Another local man has also received summonses in relation to events on the day of 22nd April, the day that Willie Corduff was savagely beaten while on Shell’s compound in Glengad. Needless to say no-one will appear in relation to Willie’s beating, and it is telling that this man received his summonses directly after giving evidence of what happened to Willie on that night.

Among the people due to appear before Belmullet District court are both Shell to Sea spokespeople, Maura Harrington (also in relation to removing the bird-netting) and Terence Conway. Also due to appear are fishermen Pat and Johnathan O’Donnell. Johnathan was arrested and spent one night in prison after Gardaí arrested him for “loitering” on his own boat while he was hauling up nets he had in Broadhaven Bay. The O’Donnell’s have traditionally fished in Broadhaven Bay all their lives, and were never shown any legal document that they were not allowed to continue fishing there. After his arrest Johnathan’s boat was impounded and would only be given back to him on the condition that he stayed out of Broadhaven Bay.

Due to appear before Ballina District Court are the 9 Shell to Sea campaigners who have be barred from County Mayo after being arrested on the 24th June. Seven of these nine have already spend 4 days in jail after Judge Devins remanded them in custody despite none of them having previous convictions.