Pat O’Donnell granted protection by Gardai after boat sinking

 Following a number of requests for State protection, and the sinister sinking of his boat the Iona Isle, Pat O’Donnell and three other fishermen have been guaranteed protection at sea by the Gardai through the presence of a Garda vessel, while they are working in their fishing grounds at sea. They have also issued a 500 metre exclusion zone around their boats. This marks the first real acknowledgement by the authorities of the dangers being faced by Mr. O’Donnell and others while they are going about their daily work, as a result of their opposition to the destruction of fishing grounds by Shell’s Corrib Gas Project.

A letter appealing for a meeting with Supt. Larkin on this issue was delivered to Belmullet Garda Station on Sunday 21 June, and also forwarded to relevant media [1]. After this letter was read out on Mid-West Radio, and also referenced in numerous other media outlets, the Gardai visited Mr. O’Donnell and agreed to the conditions outlined above.

 

A number of Mr. O'Donnell's crab pots were illegally removed from the sea bed in Broadhaven Bay last night by Shell contracted vessels. Gardai have been informed and are investigating the incident.

 

Mr. O’Donnell has requested State protection on a number of occasions, notably at a public meeting with Ministers Ryan and O Cuiv in Inver Community Hall on April 30th [2]. These were rejected. These requests arose from a fear for his safety in the context of attacks on other prominent opponents of the Corrib Gas Project, such as Willie Corduff, and were proven well founded by the sinking of the Iona Isle.

 

The community have also made calls for an independent inquiry into the sinking of the Iona Isle, and for a meeting with the Minister for Justice to discuss the safety and security issues arising from Shell's imposition of a very large force of security upon the community [3].

 

Pat O'Donnell said: “It's great that the danger being faced by people who'll stand up to Shell is finally being recognised. I've talked about how this situation is going downhill, and I was proven right again when my boat was sunk. The Solitaire will be arriving soon, but my family has been fishing this Bay for five generations, and we won't let our livelihood be destroyed by Shell – now it's up to the Gardai to make sure that our rights are protected.”

 

ENDS

 

A Mayo Shell to Sea press release

 

Notes for editors

 

1. Erris fishermen demand Garda protection as Solitaire approaches Broadhaven Bay.http://www.corribsos.com/index.php?id=2247

2. Mr O'Donnell told two Government Ministers six weeks ago that he feared his boat would be attacked by IRMS security staff. His comments are recorded on video. http://www.youtube. com/watch? v=xMGOtr- LnhE

3. Naval vessels set to escort Solitaire into Broadhaven Bay http://www.mayonews.ie/index.phpoption=com_contect&task=view&id=6970&Itemid=38 

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