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Thursday 23 November 2017

President's wife visits friend and peace activist in prison

Sabina Higgins
Sabina Higgins

Brian McDonald

THE wife of President Michael D Higgins has visited a 79-year-old peace activist who is currently being held in prison.

Maragaretta D’Arcy was jailed last week for refusing to sign a bond to keep the peace and stay away from unauthorised zones at Shannon Airport.

Sabina Higgins has been friends with D’Arcy for many years and is understood to have visited her in Limerick Prison yesterday.

Aras an Uachtarain tonight confirmed that Mrs Higgins had undertaken the visit and had done so in a private capacity.

D’Arcy, who is a member of Aosdana, is suffering from Parkinson’s Disease and has also been diagnosed with cancer.

She had received a three-month suspended prison sentence in December for illegal incursion of the runway at Shannon Airport on October 7, 2012 in protest at the use of the airport by the US military.

Her sentence was activated after she refused to sign the bond. She was arrested at her home in Galway city last Wednesday and taken by gardai to Limerick Prison.

D’Arcy, who was married to the late playwright John Arden, has been an activist since joining the anti-nuclear Committee led by Bertran Russell in 1961.

President Michael D Higins referred to his close friendship with the couple when he spoke at Mr Arden’s funeral at Mount Jerome crematorium in April, 2012.

D’Arcy’s son, Finn Arden, along with two peace activists visited the prison yesterday (MON) and said that she had raised concerns about conditions at the female section of Limerick prison.

Tomorrow at lunchtime there will be a vigil outside Dail Eireann to mark D’Arcy’s first week in prison.

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