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'Rossport 5' released after spending 94 days in prison

From left, Brendan Philbin, Willie Corduff, Vincent McGrath, Micheal O'Seighin (right), and Philip McGrath (hidden from view), the five Mayo farmers being led to the Bridewell Garda Station after being jailed last June. Photo: Alan BetsonFive Co Mayo men jailed over their opposition to the Corrib gas pipeline have been set free this afternoon.Brothers Philip and Vincent McGrath, Micheál Ó Seighín, Willie Corduff and Brendan Philbin have spent 94 days in Cloverhill Prison after they defied a court order that they stop protesting at work being carried out by Shell in Co Mayo.The men - four landowners and a protester - refused to purge their contempt of court over a refusal to comply with a High Court injunction obtained by Shell. In the High Court this afternoon, the company applied to have the injunction lifted, and the court agreed.The men did not purge their contempt. However, the court will convene on October 25th next to consider if the men should be punished.It is understood that lawyers representing the men and Shell Ireland were in contact last night and this morning. Minister for the Marine Noel Dempsey said at lunchtime he was "optimistic" of a positive outcome.Speaking earlier, Mr Dempsey said, said their release would be "a relief for everybody, more a relief for the families, and the men themselves. It can't have been pleasant for them over 90 days in prison."The men appeared before Mr Justice Joseph Finnegan - the president of the High Court - at 2pm.A rally was due to be staged in Dublin tomorrow by campaign group Shell to Sea, which was campaigning for the men's release and against the building of an onshore pipeline at Rossport, Co Mayo, by Shell E&P Ireland.© 2005

Posted Date: 
21 August 2006 - 1:09am