Shell to Sea campaigner jailed for assaulting garda

A RETIRED school principal who is one of the most recognised of the Shell to Sea campaigners has been sent to jail.

Yesterday, 55-year-old Maura Harrington appeared before Belmullet District Court charged with assaulting a member of the gardaí.

The assault was alleged to have taken place on McGrath’s Pier in Poll a Tómáis in north Co Mayo on June 11, 2007.

Ms Harrington, of Tullaghabawn, Geesala, was found guilty and ordered to pay a fine of e1,000 and another e1,000 to the Garda benevolent fund.

The outspoken campaigner was also found guilty of another public order offence on a separate date and ordered to keep the peace for 12 months.

Harrington refused to sign the bond and was consequently found to be in contempt of court.

Judge Mary Devins imposed a 28-day sentence for the assault on the Garda, and a further two days for being in contempt of court, to run concurrently.

Judge Devins also recommended that Ms Harrington be given a psychiatric assessment.

Late last year, Ms Harrington staged a 10-day hunger strike in the bitter row over the location for the Corrib gas refinery.

She lifted that protest after Shell Ireland dismissed the pipelaying ship, Solitaire, which had been in Irish waters in readiness for a planned offshore pipelaying programme in Broadhaven Bay.

Shortly after its arrival in the bay, Ms Harrington began her hunger strike and vowed to keep it up until the ship, the largest of its kind in the world, left Irish waters.

The company at the time said the ship was redirected to Britain for repair work.

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