Five men jailed for their opposition to a Shell gas pipeline in the West of Ireland are to appear in court today in an attempt to win their release.
Micheal O Seighin, Vincent McGrath, his brother Philip, Willie Corduff and Brendan Philbin are being held in Cloverhill prison for refusing to obey a High Court injunction taken out by Shell, preventing them from obstructing the construction of the pipeline through their land in Rossport, County Mayo.
The “Rossport Five”, as they have been dubbed by their supporters, are to appear in the High Court in Dublin today where they are expected to argue that the Shell injunction should be quashed.
The President of the High Court, Judge Joseph Finnegan, has indicated that he will consider an affidavit from the men’s solicitor, who has argued that the company has not been given full consent to build the pipeline, and therefore his clients cannot be jailed for obstructing it.
However, Judge Finnegan has warned that they face a long period in jail if they do not either succeed in having the injunction lifted, or purge their contempt by agreeing to obey it.
Shell E&P Ireland is seeking to pump gas at high pressure from the Corrib gasfield along the pipe to an onshore refinery at Bellanaboy in Mayo as part of its €990m project.
The company has expressed its determination to continue, despite protests outside its construction depot in Rossport and a weekend rally in Mayo’s biggest town, Castlebar, which attracted more than 1,000 people.
All five men have said they are determined to continue their protest against the pipeline.
They are being held in the medium security Cloverhill prison, which houses prisoners awaiting trial.