Pat O'Donnell's fishing boat was boarded by four masked men, two of whom were armed, at approximately two o clock this morning whilst out at sea laying pots. The two armed men held Mr O'Donnell and his crewman Martin McDonnell in the wheelhouse of the boat while another two went below deck for 20 minutes. These men returned to the deck and the two crew members were held for one and a half hours until the engine went out. At this point the masked men alighted onto an unknown vessel that took them away. None of the men spoke good English.
Mr O'Donnell went down to the engine room and realised that the boat was sinking.The two fishermen put out a mayday signal and attempted to inflate their lifeboat. The inflation mechanism failed a number of times but eventually worked with only moments left to spare. Once onboard the lifeboat Mr O'Donnell and Mr McDonnell sent out a distress flare. They were rescued at 4.30am by the 'Rachel Mary', another boat owned by Pat O’Donnell and operated by his son, Jonathan O’Donnell. He then rang the Gardai at around 6am to inform them of the incident.
Pat said '"I was in fear for my life, is there no end to what these thugs will try to do? AIl I am trying to do is protect my family and the seas that are our livelihood. I told Minster O'Cuiv in April that I needed protection by the state, but he wouldn't give it - now its time for the government to protect its people.I won't be intimidated by this."
Pat O’Donnell is a local fisherman with over thirty years experience in the waters off the coast of Ireland. It is assumed that Pat O'Donnell was targeted as he is one of the loudest objectors to Shell's Corrib Gas Project. As a fifth generation fisherman his livelihood will be crippled by pollution from the corrib project into Broadhaven bay. Determined to protect the waters for future generations of fishermen, Mr. O'Donnell has consistently refused to be paid off by Shell.