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Environmental activist jailed over failure to pay fines


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A former school principal turned environmental activist is on her way to Mountjoy prison this evening after being arrested for non-payment of fines.

Maura Harrington, (62), spokesperson for the Shell to Sea campaign, was arrested outside a bank in Bellmullet, Co Mayo around 3pm today, according to her brother Sean Harrington.

The retired school teacher was arrested on foot of a warrant for non-payment of a €300 fine, he said.

The fine was imposed after she was found guilty at Belmullet District Court  for a public order offence on August 1, 2012, when she used her car to obstruct the path of a crane driver who was delivering equipment for the Corrib Gas project. She was also banned from driving for two years and given six months to pay the fine.

Gardai confirmed that a “woman has been arrested on an outstanding warrant for non-payment of fines” and is being escorted by gardai to the Dochas women’s wing of Mountjoy prison this evening..

It’s not the first time that Ms Harrington has been jailed for non-payment of fines.

A number of Shell to Sea protesters held a demonstration outside the prison back in June, 2010 when Ms Harrington was also jailed for non-payment of fines for a previous offence.

She has 13 previous convictions -  including eight under the Public Order Act, three under the Road Traffic Act, and one each for assault and criminal damage.

But her brother, who is also a member of the Shell to Sea campaign which is opposed to the offshore natural gas project, said his sister’s arrest came out of the blue as she was going about her business.

“It was a very unusual and unexpected situation,” he told Independent.ie.

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