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Ferris demands independent investigation into sinking of the Iona Isle

11 June, 2009 - by Martin Ferris TD

Sinn Féin TD Martin Ferris has called for an independent investigation into the circumstances surrounding the sinking of a fishing boat off the coast of Mayo this morning after four armed and masked men boarded the boat and left the skipper and his crewman in serious danger. Deputy Ferris said the masked men had Eastern European accents and locals believe that they were working for Shell.

Deputy Ferris said this morning, “At 2am this morning four masked men with short arms and Eastern European accents boarded the boat named as the ‘Iona Isle’. Two of the armed men, wearing balaclavas, kept Pat O’Donnell, the owner, and his crew man Martin McDonnell in the wheel house of the boat.

“The other two armed men went down into the holt of the boat and done enough damage in order for it to sink. At approximately 4am the four masked and armed men abandoned the boat leaving Pat O’Donnell and his crewman with an inflatable dingy but with very little time to inflate it. Pat and his crewman Martin had difficulty inflating the dingy with only moments to spare before the boat sank.

“Luckily both men were rescued at approximately 4:30pm by another fishing boat and taken to Castlebar hospital.

“Locals in Mayo believe that these men were working on behalf of Shell who are attempting to impose a gas pipeline in the area against the wishes of the local community. This incident comes just a week after Shell was ordered to pay out €9.5million for their part in the hanging of environmental activists in Nigeria who were standing up for their community and opposing Shell’s actions.

“There must be an immediate independent investigation into this attack on these fishermen. The community has lost faith in the independence of the Gardaí on matters in which shell is suspected of complicity.” ENDS

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