Boat sunk, local fishermen attacked for opposing Shell

Date:

At 2am on Thursday morning, Pat O'Donnell's boat the 'Iona Isle' was boarded by four masked men and sunk out at sea, near where Mr. O'Donnell lays his fishing pots off Erris, North Mayo. Mr. O'Donnell and crewman Martin McDonnell were attacked and held down by some of the men, while others went below deck, where they proceeded to sink the boat. Both local men have been taken to Castlebar General Hospital, where they are recovering.This action has been taken due to Mr. O'Donnell's vocal opposition to Shell's Corrib Gas project. He is a local fisherman who whose family has fished Broadhaven Bay for generations. Mr. O'Donnell is against the destruction of the Bay and his livelihood by Shell, and has been assaulted by Shell security and Gardaí on a number of previous occasions.

This development follows a sinister pattern of attacks on high profile opponents of the Corrib gas project. In April, local farmer Willie Corduff was severely beaten while protesting against Shell's return to Glengad. On that occasion, Shell's private security force - Integrated Risk Management Services (IRMS) - initially refused to comment on the situation, but later claimed responsibility for a watered-down version of events. IRMS have been accused of brutality on a number of occasions in relation to their work in Mayo, with 'YouTube' video exhibiting their behaviour[1]. Another campaigner suffered ligament damage at the hands of IRMS last week while protesting. Shell's work in the Niger Delta has also been in the public mind this week with a huge settlement in favour of the Ogoni 9 at a court in New York[2].

In a separate incident, six people have been arrested during an attempt to board dredgers working in Broadhaven Bay, while two others will also appear before Westport District Court this morning in relation to arrests at a protest which blocked trucks from entering Shell's Glengad compound for over an hour.

Shell to Sea spokesperson Maura Harrington said: “Will Shell stop at nothing to stamp down on the protest here in Mayo? This attack on Pat and Martin and their boat is nothing short of disgusting, and could easily have been even more dangerous, as there were problems with their life raft and neither man can swim . Those opposing the project are now in fear of their lives.”

ENDS

1. Video of IRMS on YouTube.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XC7xrRQHQ6k
2. Shell forced to settle human rights case out of court. http://wiwavshell.org/documents/Wiwa_v_Shell_Settlement...e.pdf

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