Pensioner released but vows to continue tree protest
Landowner set free from Mountjoy jail after 22 days
Published 07/10/2011 | 05:00
PENSIONER Teresa Treacy has walked free following 22-days spent locked up in Mountjoy Prison after a judge ordered her release.
Ms Treacy (65), from Woodfield House, Clonmore, Tullamore, Co Offaly, was committed to prison for being in contempt of court for refusing to allow ESB and Eirgrid workers access to her land.
"I'm not letting them through, I'm not letting them on my land. I will never let them through," she declared as she left the court with her family yesterday.
"I'm getting help and I'm getting a lawyer and I will never let them through," she added.
Yesterday at the High Court, Ms Justice Mary Laffoy said Ms Treacy was "free to go home" after Michael Conlon, counsel on behalf of ESB/Eirgrid applied to the court to have the committal order vacated.
Mr Conlon said his clients wished to have Ms Treacy freed so the parties could enter further talks in the hope that all matters could be resolved.
The judge ordered Ms Treacy's release after she again stated she was not prepared to purge her contempt and comply with the court's orders.
She refused access to workers as she feared the trees on her property would be destroyed by the works and she requested the powerline be put underground.
Last month ESB and Eirgrid applied to the High Court to have Ms Treacy committed to prison because she refused them access to her land by locking the gates to her property and standing in front of the locks when workers tried to cut them.
Ms Justice Laffoy welcomed the fact that the parties are to enter mediation.
She said that by spending 22 days in prison "the punitive element" of Ms Treacy's contempt "had been fulfilled."
However the injunction restraining Ms Treacy and her sister Mary from interfering with ESB/Eirgrid from carrying out works on the land is to remain in place.
The court was told that workers had cut down 85pc of the trees required to complete the works on Ms Treacy's lands.
Last month works were halted to facilitate talks with Ms Treacy's family and the IFA.
They were restarted, but suspended again on September 27 after protesters entered the site.
Niall Harnett, a friend representing Ms Treacy, told the court she may appeal the injunction to the Supreme Court.
Last July ESB/Eirgrid secured orders against Ms Treacy and her sister Mary allowing them to carry out works on the land.
The defendants were further ordered to unlock gates and remove any barriers blocking the ESB/Eirgrid from accessing the sister's property.
While workers were initially allowed on to the land, gates on the property were subsequently locked preventing any work from being carried out.
ESB/Eirgrid offered to compensate Ms Treacy, and had offered to plant new trees to replace any that might be damaged by their work.
She has previously claimed before the court that the property where she and her sister Mary reside is a place of natural beauty. She said the ESB/Eirgrid's actions are "wrong," and they should "stop what they are doing".