Friday 24 November 2017

Shannon activist (79) to be out of jail in days

Shannon Airport protester Margaretta D’Arcy.
Shannon Airport protester Margaretta D’Arcy.

Tom Brady Security Editor

PEACE activist Margaretta D'Arcy is to be released from prison on Saturday after completing a three-month sentence imposed on her for her part in an unauthorised incursion onto the runway at Shannon Airport.

The disabled 79-year-old grandmother had refused to accept conditions that would have led to her early release from prison.

She was arrested by gardai in December after failing to sign an undertaking to stay away from unauthorised zones at the airport.

She had been handed a suspended three-month sentence at Ennis district court when she appeared on charges relating to the incident in October 2012.

The sentence was suspended on condition that she enter into a bond to uphold the law for two years and stay out of the Shannon zones.

After her arrest she was taken to Limerick prison and later transferred to the Dochas unit at Mountjoy jail in Dublin to serve the rest of her sentence.

Her sentencing sparked off protests by a number of action groups, and her visitors while in jail included Sabrina Higgins, the wife of President Michael D Higgins.

Ms D'Arcy, who is a grandmother of six and a member of Arts Council-funded group Aosdana, is said to be suffering from Parkinson's disease and is also being treated for cancer.

She was considered for temporary release by the prison authorities shortly after she was committed to Limerick, but her refusal to sign the release bonds meant she had to serve her full sentence.

Groups serving regular protests against the jailing ranged from the Irish Anti-War Movement to the Communist Party of Ireland and the Peace and Neutrality Alliance.


Before she was sentenced in December, Ms D'Arcy attempted to carry out a citizen's arrest on Judge Patrick Durcan, who had to withdraw from the bench to his chambers, forcing the court into a brief adjournment.

Dressed in a Guantanamo-style orange jumpsuit, Ms D'Arcy managed to evade court security and attempt the arrest. But she was stopped by two gardai, who intercepted her when she was only two metres from the judge's bench.

After the adjournment, Judge Durcan convicted Ms D'Arcy, of St Bridget's Place, Woodquay, Galway, and noted that she had put her own life as well as the lives of others in danger.

Irish Independent

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