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Saturday 24 February 2018

Eco-warrior ill at ease in media spotlight

Dearbhail McDonald Legal Editor

Jerrie Ann Sullivan, far right, with Caoimhe Kerins, Shell to Sea spokesperson, and John Monaghan, a resident of Glengad, Co Mayo, at a press conference where she gave her account of events during the Corrib gas site protest.

JERRIE ANN Sullivan was clearly uncomfortable yesterday as she faced the media.

One of two women arrested by gardai following a solidarity protest at the Corrib gas site in Co Mayo, the self-styled eco-warrior attended a press conference to denounce the garda investigation into the "rape-tape" controversy.

"I didn't want to be here," said Ms Sullivan, who claimed that gardai released her personal details on a selective basis.

Just last week, Ms Sullivan stopped a tractor and climbed on its roof in protest at "the ongoing intimidation" of the communities living close to Shell's inland refinery site in Mayo.

But yesterday there were no heroics or bombast.

Head bowed, eyes closed, the post-graduate student appeared uncomfortable in the media glare.

Constantly searching the eyes of Dublin Shell to Sea spokesperson Caoimhe Kerins for support and, it seemed, permission to answer certain questions, Ms Sullivan was at her most robust when denouncing Shell, the gardai and, latterly, the Garda Ombudsman.

Refused

But the pale-faced Dubliner, who is from Stillorgan, refused to be drawn on any details about her background or how she became involved in last week's protest/arrest/loose-talk controversy.

This in itself was unusual as she gave a full interview, less than two years ago, to the Irish Independent as she set off for the 2009 Copenhagen summit on climate change.

Then, Ms Sullivan, a UCD science graduate, revealed how she refused to fly, citing the detrimental impact that airplanes have on the planet.

"It's important to practice what you preach," Ms Sullivan told this paper.

But yesterday the former youth co-ordinator for sustainable development at ECO-UNESCO -- Ireland's environmental education and youth organisation -- was silent about her campaigning past.

Just three weeks ago, Ms Sullivan left her role at ECO-UNESCO.

Within days she was protesting at Corrib.

It was hard to discern whether her discomfort related to what she and others have described as the "deeply disturbing" comments by gardai.

At least seven TDs attended the Shell to Sea press conference which renewed calls for an independent, international inquiry into the policing of the Corrib gas project.

Irish Independent

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