We are all indebted to the Mayo gas protesters

YOUR editorial (April 28) began well, but quickly deteriorated into the usual inaccurate and criminalising caricature of the protest by people against Shell in Co Mayo.

Unspecified shady motives are alluded to once again and the gardaí, whose behaviour has been shocking in many instances, are made out to be caught in the middle when in fact they have been Shell’s enforcers in the area.

As with the jailing of the Rossport Five before them, the imprisonment of Niall Harnett and Pat O’Donnell is a national scandal – both men have been incarcerated as a consequence of a legal process that should cause us to hang our heads in collective shame.

Their true ‘crime’ is that they have been successful in delaying a project that has been seriously compromised from the very outset – economically, environmentally and politically.

They are owed a debt of gratitude from every Irish person for their fortitude in trying to bring the truth of this matter to attention against overwhelming odds.

Niall Harnett alleges that he was set upon by three gardaí in a court room and then physically ejected from the court. And yet he was convicted of assaulting them. Pat O’Donnell’s fishing boat was sunk by four armed and masked men, while he was left in serious danger of drowning last year. But he too is now in prison.

Willie Corduff’s experiences on the night of his beating were ridiculed or doubted openly by many journalists while O’Donnell’s and Harnett’s convictions are now reported entirely at face value by a lazy media. RTÉ, under tight government control as ever, has an appalling record overall on this matter.

Our system of justice has been completely inverted to facilitate the all-powerful Shell and its consortium partners who, as with bankers and developers, have been facilitated by the Fianna Fáil government in every conceivable manner at our expense.

With so much at stake both for the community in Mayo and the country, will you at least make some attempt to put the record straight about this situation?

Miriam Cotton

Woodlands

Clonakilty

Co Cork

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