"The government has relinquished control over the offshore areas of our industry. Norway was tough regarding oil companies from the start. You now have an almost embarrassingly large pension fund. The situation for Irish communities, however, is as in Ogoniland in Nigeria - oil is a curse,”
--- Only 1 of 27 campaigners was convicted this week, 1 got the probation act and 25 were dismissed or withdrawn ---
Judge Gerard Haughton ruled today at a special sitting of Belmullet District Court that Shell to Sea campaigner, Eoin Lawless was "unlawfully detained" by Gardai who held him in custody without charge for 6 hours and held him for 27 hours in total last May. Due to this, another 8 related cases were subsequently withdrawn by the State.
As well as being unlawfully detained, seven of the nine people involved were remanded to prison by Judge Mary Devins until released by order of the High Court a number of days later. All nine were also banned from entering the county of Mayo, while their case was being heard.
Ten other cases were also withdrawn today, including prosecutions relating to removal of illegal Shell netting at Glengad. Defendants in these withdrawn cases included a landowner on Shell's proposed pipeline route, and daughters of two of the Rossport 5, as well as Shell to Sea spokesperson Terence Conway.
Shell to Sea spokesperson, Maura Harrington said "Today the unbalanced policing of Shell's operations in Erris has been exposed in court. The treatment of campaigners over the last five years has amounted to extra-judicial punishment."
Ms Harrington continued "The question remains, why were most of these cases proceeded with for many months and then dropped at the last minute? And is this an attempt by the State to discourage peaceful protest and intimidate campaigners who oppose Shell?"
FOR VERIFICATION, COMMENT OR MORE INFO, CONTACT:
* Maura Harrington
* Terence Conway
NOTES TO EDITORS
 "Ryan's madness and folly in Corrib row" by Fintan O'Toole
 During the summer of 2008 there were 43 arrests around the Shell works in Glengad - all were released without charge. The Shell site at Glengad has no planning permission.
 "The Corrib Gas Ruling" by Ed Moran