Retired teacher Maura Harrington jailed for 4th time this year over opposition to Shell refinery

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Retired school principal Maura Harrington has been jailed for the fourth time this year in connection with her opposition to Shell’s experimental inland refinery and high-pressure pipeline in north Mayo.Harrington, a prominent Shell to Sea campaigner, was sentenced to three months imprisonment today at Belmullet District Court for assaulting an employee of IRMS, the private security company hired by Shell. She was also sentenced to three months for trespass on the landfall site at Glengad. The sentences are to run concurrently.

Dublin Shell to Sea has called a solidarity protest at the main gates of Mountjoy Prison in Dublin (9th September) from 6pm. Maura Harrington is expected to arrive there around 7.30pm.

Dublin Shell to Sea spokesperson, Caoimhe Kerrins said: "Maura and other campaigners have been trying to highlight the giveaway of Ireland's valuable gas to multinationals at a time of great economic hardship. The State's response to this is to consistently harass protestors and lock them up in already overcrowded prisons.

"The other irony is that the landfall site on which Maura was convicted of trespassing is illegal. Shell is still seeking planning permission for their onshore high-pressure pipeline. The Planning and Development Regulations 2001 clearly state that works of this nature are not exempt from this planning permission."

"At a time when the state is effectively bankrupt, it is ludicrous that a local campaigner should be jailed for three months for opposing a deeply unpopular and unjust project."

"We will wait to see whether Judge Mary Devins is as quick to hand out custodial sentences to Shell E & P Ireland for the contempt of court they were found guilty of on September 4th."