Saturday, 15 August 2009
Niall Harnett jailed for opposing Shell
Niall Harnett, an Irish supporter of the campaign to stop Shell from building a refinery on land in Mayo, has been jailed for his non-violent civil disobedience.
In a disgracefully harsh sentence he received two consecutive periods of four months, making a total of eight months, in the squalid and remote Castlerea prison, where he has already spent 16 days.
In Ireland, even for violent offenders, sentences for two or more alleged offences, are almost invariably concurrent, meaning that innumerable sentences are all rolled up in one. Not so for this brave non-violent young man who has challenged the status quo, Shell and the State that sold out its natural resources in Mayo waters to Shell for nothing!
Niall's non-violent stand is too principled for the State to countenance. A Government minister had given away the people's ownership of our natural resources off the Mayo Coast and the people got nothing back in return. Then the Shell consortium proceeded to do what they wished in Mayo until the"Shell to Sea" campaign was set up to oppose them.
Five locals were jailed for contempt and spent 94 days in jail.
Another local, Maura Harrington, has been jailed three times, (see previous post) but this last time received bail. Niall's bail was too severe for him to accept on principle as it would keep him away from the scene of the action.
The Garda Síochána, the police force of the Irish State, often work hand in hand with Shell security police and have sometimes assaulted the protestors. No prosecutions have been made because of these assaults although some were shown on RTE News.
Niall comes to Dublin to appeal against the severity of his bail conditions on Monday, August 17th.