A French journalist and an English environmental engineer who took part in ‘lock-on’ protests during recent demonstrations against the Corrib Gas Project have both been given the benefit of the Probation Act.
Chloe Duval (22), a French national with an address at 25 Derrybeg Drive, Newry, Co Down, and Tom Hooley (28), originally from Nottingham both appeared before last week’s sitting of Belmullet District Court charged with obstruction and failure to comply at Aughoose, Pullathomas, on March 27 2012.
Both defendants pleaded guilty to the charges. Neither had any previous convictions. The protest in which they were involved blocked the road from 6.20am until 12 noon.
Alan Gannon, solicitor for the two defendants said that Ms Duval was a native of Normandy and had come to Ireland to learn English. He said she had completed a three year degree in journalism. He said she has never been in trouble before and intended to return to France.
He said Mr Hooley had a degree in engineering and was involved in an environmental business which educates people to build their own wind turbines and control their own energy supplies. He said Mr Hooley was ideologically driven and had not intended to get into trouble.
Judge Denis McLoughlin said that because they pleaded guilty and had no previous convictions, he would give them the benefit of the Probation Act.
Separately, a Limerick native also received the benefit of the Probation Act after she was arrested for blocking a lorry during a protest in February. Izzy Ní Ghradáin (44) with an address at 17 St Michael’s Flats, Aldenham Street, Camden, London, was charged with obstruction and failure to comply on two dates on February 2 and February 29.