Maura Harrington

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Maura Harrington
Born (1953-09-15) 15 September 1953 (age 64)
Occupation Former school principal
Years active 1953—present
Known for Opposition to Royal Dutch Shell's Corrib gas project
Movement Shell to Sea

Maura Harrington (born 15 September 1953) is a spokesperson for the Shell to Sea campaign, from County Mayo, Ireland. A retired school principal of Inver National School,[1] she has been jailed on a number of occasions for her involvement in Shell to Sea protests.

Campaign work[edit]

Harrington has previously been involved in fundraising for the British Miners' Strike, as well as campaigning against the Maastricht treaty.[citation needed]

On 12 October 2006, Harrington sustained head and neck injuries while Gardaí cleared demonstrators blocking an access road used by Shell workers on the Corrib gas project.[2]

Harrington has described herself as a Marxist.[3]

On 9 September 2008, she began a hunger strike in protest at the arrival of the Solitaire, an Allseas pipe-laying ship assisting Royal Dutch Shell. The strike took place at the gates of the Shell compound in Glengad in Erris, in her car. It ended after the ship left Ireland for repairs.[4] She appeared in Belmullet District Court on 8 October 2008 accused of a public order offence related to a protest when President Mary McAleese attended the official opening of a civic centre in Belmullet in April 2007.[5] In March 2009, she was found guilty of this charge.[6] She was also found guilty of assaulting a Garda[6] during a fracas which saw several protesters injured.[7] For this, she was given a sentence of 28 days imprisonment, fined and bound to keep the peace for 12 months, though she opted not to pay the fine or sign the bond.[6] The judge in the case, Mary Devins, wife of the Fianna Fáil TD Jimmy Devins, also directed Harrington to receive a psychiatric assessment due to what she described as her "bizarre" behaviour[8] an order which received criticism, with Senator David Norris comparing the decision to the tactics used in Stalinist dictatorships in Eastern Europe where political dissidents were portrayed as mentally ill.[9] Harrington denied both charges, and did not give evidence in protest after Judge Devins refused to allow video evidence of the incident to be shown.[10] She served her sentence in Dublin's Mountjoy Prison.[11] Protests and other events took place outside the prison in solidarity, as well as at the offices of the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform.[11][12][13]

On 6 April 2009, Harrington was due to speak at an event in London organised by Amnesty International to highlight the forthcoming Wiwa family lawsuits against Royal Dutch Shell, but was unable to because of her imprisonment.[14][15][16][17] In July 2009, Harrington was jailed for four months for public order offences relating to demonstrations, a sentence which was appealed.[18]

In February 2010, Judge Raymond Groarke accused Harrington of being like a member of "the secret police" following a period when the local area saw an influx of many Integrated Risk Management Services guards.[19]


  1. ^ Sheehan, Maeve (21 September 2008). "A plea for calm on the unquiet sea: As a hunger strike over the Corrib gas row ends, there are calls for the Government to bring 'peace to Mayo'". Sunday Independent. Independent News & Media. Retrieved 21 September 2008. 
  2. ^ McConnell, Daniel (19 November 2006). "School principal criticised for protesting against Shell – National News, Frontpage". Sunday Independent. Independent News & Media. Retrieved 19 November 2006. 
  3. ^ "Made in Mayo". Archived from the original on 21 November 2007. Retrieved 22 July 2009. 
  4. ^ "Shell to Sea protester ends 10-day hunger strike". The Irish Times. Irish Times Trust. 20 September 2008. Retrieved 20 September 2008. 
  5. ^ "Shell protester accused of 'lunge' towards President". The Irish Times. Irish Times Trust. 9 October 2008. Retrieved 9 October 2008. 
  6. ^ a b c McNulty, Anton (12 March 2009). "Shell to Sea campaigner jailed for 28 days for assault on garda". The Irish Times. Irish Times Trust. Retrieved 12 March 2009. 
  7. ^ The Irish Times, 16 June 2007.
  8. ^ "Shell to Sea campaigner jailed for assault". The Irish Times. Irish Times Trust. 11 March 2009. Retrieved 11 March 2009. 
  9. ^ Walsh, Jimmy (13 March 2009). "Norris questions judge's ruling in Shell to Sea case". The Irish Times. Irish Times Trust. Retrieved 13 March 2009. 
  10. ^ [1][dead link]
  11. ^ a b Gillespie, Brian (12 March 2009). "Supporters applaud activist as she begins 28-day jail term". Irish Independent. Independent News & Media. Retrieved 12 March 2009. 
  12. ^ "Shell to Sea campaigners protest at Department of Justice". The Irish Times. Irish Times Trust. 13 March 2009. Retrieved 13 March 2009. 
  13. ^ "Protester denies groin kick". Mayo News. 14 April 2009. Retrieved 14 April 2009. 
  14. ^ "Remember Saro-Wiwa: Justice for the Ogoni 9". Amnesty International UK. Archived from the original on 5 June 2011. Retrieved 22 July 2009. 
  15. ^ "Imprisoned Harrington missed London conference". Mayo Advertiser. 10 April 2009. Retrieved 10 April 2009. 
  16. ^ Siggins, Lorna (8 April 2009). "New effort on Corrib gas awaited after talks breakdown". The Irish Times. Irish Times Trust. Retrieved 8 April 2009. 
  17. ^ Bray, Allison (8 April 2009). "It's open season on us, says freed Shell protester". Irish Independent. Independent News & Media. Retrieved 8 April 2009. 
  18. ^ "Two Shell protesters jailed". The Irish Times. Irish Times Trust. 30 July 2009. Retrieved 30 July 2009. 
  19. ^ "Judge likens Shell to Sea to 'secret police'". RTÉ News. Prvda. 11 February 2010. 

External links[edit]