A French journalist who was researching the Corrib gas dispute for a French magazine was arrested for public order offences at a recent protest.
Adrein Blondel (21) with an address at 25 Derrybeg Drive, Newry, Co Down was arrested for failure to comply with the direction of the gardaí and willful obstruction during a protest at Ballygelly South, Glenamoy on November 3 last.
Superintendent Pat Diskin told Belmullet District Court that Mr Blondel was arrested when he was among 15 people who obstructed a cement lorry going to the Shell compound in Aughoose.
Supt Diskin said the defendant failed to move when he was asked but admitted he was ‘totally co-operative’ when arrested and that he did not obstruct any other traffic on the road.
Mr Alan Gannon, solicitor for the defendant said his client was originally from Normandy in France but was living in Newry as a teacher’s assistant in order to improve his English. Mr Gannon said he works as a journalist in France and was researching the Corrib gas dispute and became immersed in the protest to get a better handle of the circumstances.
He was doing detailed research work for an article he planned to write for a French magazine.
Judge Kevin Kilraine said because he pleaded guilty and had not obstructed other people he would give him the benefit of the Probation Act.
13 protesters to appear before special sitting
Meanwhile 13 Shell to Sea protesters are to appear before a special sitting of Belmullet District Court on February 20, 2012 where they face charges relating the protests against the Corrib gas project. The majority of the charges are for wilful obstruction and failure to comply with the direction of the gardaí but others face charges of criminal damage, assault and entering/bringing an object onto land.
The charges relate to protests on different dates in June, July, August and November.
One of the defendants, Eoin Ó Leidhin of Barrnacullen, Pollathomas requested that his hearing be heard in Irish and Judge Kevin Kilraine granted an interpreter to be present on the day if needed.