Wednesday 21 March 2018

Security fails to spot runway breach

Pat Flynn

PEACE campaigners claim they had to tip off airport authorities who failed to notice they were protesting on a runway as two planes were coming in to land.

Gardai are to review security at Shannon Airport after two activists breached a perimeter fence and went undetected on the runway for up to 15 minutes.

Officers were eventually alerted after one of the protesters feared their lives might be in danger and phoned the authorities.

Protesters Margaretta D'Arcy (78) and Galway Alliance Against War member Niall Farrell (59) expected to be arrested by airport police as soon as they set foot on the runway.

However, no one showed up, and Ms D'Arcy was found lying on the tarmac when police arrived.

At the time of the protest two aircraft were due to land at Shannon, but once the alarm was raised both flights were placed in holding patterns until the runway was cleared.

The incident, on Sunday, is the latest in a long line of protests targeting the airport, where US military aircraft regularly stop over.

Ms D'Arcy and Mr Farrell entered the airport at around 4pm on Sunday to stage a "non-violent peaceful protest" against the war in Afghanistan.

But it was 4.25pm before they were finally removed from the runway after three airport police vehicles were sent to locate them.

The pair returned to the perimeter fence at one point to ask where the airport police were.

Mr Farrell said he had expected they would be spotted before they reached the runway. They had no intention of endanger-ing their own lives or any approaching aircraft, he added.

The pair were detained but later released without charge.

Irish Independent

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