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TDs Wallace and Daly in court over airport incident


Clare Daly and Mick Wallace

Clare Daly and Mick Wallace

Clare Daly and Mick Wallace

Two Independent TDs who scaled a security fence at Shannon Airport and tried to approach two military aircraft are due to appear in court tomorrow.

Mick Wallace and Clare Daly have been summoned to appear before Ennis District Court after they were arrested at Shannon last July 22.

They are accused of climbing the perimeter fence and entering a part of the airport that they did not have permission to be in.

The pair, who were wearing high-visibility jackets, were arrested after they used a rope ladder to scale a security fence and tried to approach two US military aircraft that were parked, under armed guard, on a remote taxiway.

Ms Daly sustained minor facial injuries when she fell while trying to scale the fence but did not require medical attention.

The pair got within 100 metres of a Hercules C130 transport plane and a C40 jet, a military variation of the Boeing 737. The aircraft were parked on a taxiway designated for and regularly used by the US military and where they are protected by Irish Army personnel.

Airport police officers managed to intercept the politicians before they reached the planes, and despite requests from the TDs to continue on and search them, they were detained and taken to the terminal.

They were handed over to gardai and formally arrested before being taken to Shannon Garda Station for questioning. They were released without charge and a file was prepared for the DPP.

The TDs later claimed they entered the airport because former Justice Minister Alan Shatter "challenged" them to do so.

They said he told them to "produce the evidence" that US military aircraft using Shannon were breaching Irish and international law.

Shannonwatch, a group that monitors military aircraft movements at Shannon, has expressed disappointment that the State has decided to prosecute the TDs.

"Deputies Daly and Wallace wished to search these aircraft for the purposes of confirming whether they were involved in military operations, or were carrying weapons or munitions, or were engaged in activities that were not in accordance with the Irish Government's stated policy of neutrality," said activist Dr Edward Horgan.

"They were there to verify whether the planes were in accordance with US government assurances to the Irish Government on such matters."