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Irish Times: Shell protesters sentenced to community service

Anton McNulty,
Published: Sep 14, 2007

Five Shell to Sea environmental campaigners who blockaded the entrance of a Bord na Mona peat depository site in Co Mayo were sentenced to 100 hours’ community service in lieu of three months’ imprisonment at yesterday’s sitting of Ballycroy District Court.

The five defendants, Kate Kirkpatrick, Anna Rudd and Emma Jackson of Millfield Road, Clapham, London, Julie Ryder of Nine Ladies, Recs Cross Station, Lees, Matlock, and Eoin O Leidhon, Meelagulleen, Ballinskelligs, Co Kerry, were convicted of engaging in threatening and abusive behaviour. However, charges of wilful obstruction and failure to comply with the direction of gardaI were dismissed by Judge Mary Devins.

Before the judgment, Alan Gannon, solicitor for the five defendants, asked Judge Devins, in light of revelations that she had received “hate mail” from members of Shell to Sea, to disqualify herself from the judgment because it might be perceived that justice was not seen to be done. However, Judge Devins said she was not a coward and in her nine years as a District Court judge controversy had never influenced her thinking.

The blockade occurred on June 5th last when the five defendants organised a “lock on” protest at the entrance to the Bord na Mona peat depository site at Attawalla, Bangor Erris, Co Mayo.

The protest started at approximately 7am and ended when the protesters were eventually released at 11.40am and subsequently arrested. The protesters lay on the ground and put their hands into sewage pipes, which were laced with concrete, and locked themselves together using climbing hooks.

The fire brigade was called to free the protesters and up to 200 trucks were prevented from entering the site.

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