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News Release: Campaigners get fines and prison sentences for opposing Shell

News release - Issued by Shell to Sea

Garda assault, criminal damage and obstruction escalate on the L1202 road to Glengad.

Today concluded a week long special sitting of Belmullet District court hearing cases of 19 Shell to Sea campaigners. One campaigner received a prison sentence and three others received suspended sentences. Fines for all cases totalled €8350.

The court dealt with 80 charges for acts of civil disobedience in opposition to Shell's Corrib gas project in Co. Mayo, of which 44 resulted in convictions.

Local Shell to Sea spokesperson Terence Conway was given two three month sentences for obstructing Shell construction vehicles. He is appealing the case and is currently released on bail. On the day after his trial he was obstructed by Gardaí prioritising Shell vehicles on the same road while trying to get to court. A video of the incident can be viewed here:

Speaking after court Terrence Conway said: "We've been hauled before the court for peaceful protest while the actions of the Gardaí and Shell's private army IRMS go unchecked. On a daily basis members of the local community are assaulted and obstructed to facilitate this unwanted project."

On Wednesday as cases were heard a Garda smashed a local man's car window and threatened him with pepper spray. The incident took place after he was stopped by Gardaí outside Shell's compound at Glengad. It was captured on video camera and can be viewed here:

Mr Conway concluded: "We will continue to oppose Shell's Corrib project on health, safety, environmental and economic grounds. Prison sentences and fines won't change the simple truth that the Corrib project is neither acceptable to the community nor beneficial to the country. Real justice is yet to be served."

Terence Conway:        
Maura Harrington:!/ShellToSea

The Shell to Sea Campaign has three main aims:

1) That any exploitation of the Corrib gas field be done in a safe way that will not expose the local community in Erris to unnecessary health, safety and environmental risks.

2) To renegotiate the terms of the Great Oil and Gas Giveaway, which sees Ireland’s 10 billion barrels of oil equivalent* off the West Coast go directly to the oil companies, with the Irish State retaining a 0% share, no energy security of supply and only 25% tax on profits against which all costs can be deducted.

3) To seek justice for the human rights abuses suffered by Shell to Sea campaigners due to their opposition to Shell’s proposed inland refinery.
*This figure is based on the estimate, issued by the Department of Communications, Energy & Natural Resources (DCENR) in 2006, that the amount of recoverable oil and gas in the Rockall and Porcupine basins, off Ireland’s west coast, is 10 BBOE (billion barrels of oil equivalent). Based on the average price of a barrel of oil for 2010 of $79, this works out at $790 billion, or €580 billion. This does not take account of further oil and gas reserves off Ireland’s south & east coasts or inland. The total volume of oil and gas which rightfully belongs to Ireland could be significantly higher. Also, as the global price of oil rises in the coming years, the value of these Irish natural resources will rise further.