Monday 5 December 2016

Irish climate activists refused entry to France under emergency powers enacted after the Paris gun attacks

Paul Melia, Environment Editor in Paris

Published 10/12/2015 | 18:52

U.S Secretary of State John Kerry delivers his speech during a news conference
U.S Secretary of State John Kerry delivers his speech during a news conference

A GROUP of Irish climate change activities were temporarily refused entry to France under emergency powers enacted after the Paris gun attacks.

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A bus carrying 32 people ranging in age from 20 to 72 years were stopped at the Port of Cherbourg at 5.30pm local time because they carried a banner.

As a result, French police said they were being refused entry because protests have been banned and have been told they must return to Ireland on a ferry.

However, shortly after 8pm (local time) they were released.

The group included Grace O'Sullivan, who was on board Greenpeace's Rainbow Warrior in July 1985 when it was bombed by the French secret service amid protests about nuclear testing underway French Polynesia.

It later emerged that two mines had been planted by two members of the French intelligence services. One crew member died in the attack.

Ms O'Sullivan was a Green Party candidate in last year's European elections.

The group were allowed leave shortly after 8pm following interventions from the Irish ambassador to France, and a request for help from the French Embassy in Dublin.

Spokeswoman for Stop Climate Chaos, Ciara Kirrane, said the party were told they were being refused entry to the country, because demonstrations were not allowed.

“We said we were there for sanctioned events, and they (police) said there was no negotiation and we were being put back on the next ferry.

“They told us they were flexible and let us through. We've been let go and we're on the road.”

Members of the group included Friends of the Earth, An Taisce, Christian Aid, Eco-Unesco, People's Climate were on board.

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