Leading Shell to Sea protester Maura Harrington was led away yesterday -- to a round of applause from her supporters -- to spend the first night of a 28-day prison sentence in jail.
Her arrival at Mountjoy Prison sparked a heated protest outside the prison last night when around 30 supporters gathered to voice their opposition to her arrest.
Waving placards, the activists pledged to continue with their protests -- a spokesperson stating that the legal system can jail as many members of Shell to Sea as they like but it won't stop their activities.
The retired schoolteacher, of Tullaghanbawn, Geesala, Ballina, Co Mayo, was found guilty at Belmullet District Court of an assault on Garda Eamon Berry, now retired, in Pullathomas, Ballina, on June 11, 2007.
Judge Mary Devins said that for one public servant to have humiliated another by slapping him in the face was behaviour she could only describe as utterly despicable.
Judge Devins added that even if she accepted Harrington was very passionate about the Shell to Sea cause, it didn't excuse the vitriol she showed.
"I'm less inclined to believe the passion having observed the enjoyment she seems to get from being in the limelight."
For the assault, Harrington was fined €1,000, ordered to make a contribution of €1,000 to the Garda Benevolent Fund, and sentenced to 28 days in prison.