Saturday 17 November 2018

It's open season on us, says freed Shell protester

Allison Bray

CORRIB gas protester Maura Harrington was yesterday released from prison after serving 28 days for assaulting a garda.

Her release came as talks between the Government, Shell and Corrib protesters over the dispute broke down.

Energy Minister Eamon Ryan yesterday insisted the door remained open after five hours of negotiations broke down.

It also emerged yesterday that the Garda Ombudsman is still investigating numerous allegations, made by Corrib gas protesters, of intimidation and brutality from officers.

A spokesman said the garda watchdog has received several complaints stemming from protests at the Corrib gas pipeline in Bellanboy, Co Mayo going back to 2007.

Among them are 12 complaints against 69 gardai served after clashes on June 11, 2007.

While many of the complaints relating to events that day were dismissed, a source confirmed that some do not appear to be groundless and are being actively investigated.

Meanwhile, a small group of Dublin Shell to Sea activists who rallied outside Leinster House yesterday claimed there was ongoing intimidation of protesters by gardai in Mayo.

Retired national school principal Ms Harrington said that while the ombudsman is still investigating the complaints, "the only people who are being brought before the courts are local people and supporters".

"We are being treated as non-citizens of our own country . . . It's open season on us down there. They think they can do whatever they wish, however they wish and we continue to fight against it," she told the Irish Independent yesterday.

She made the comments as she was released from the women's unit at Mountjoy Prison yesterday after being jailed for 28 days for assaulting a garda and contempt of court -- for refusing to sign a bond to keep the peace.

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