Gardaí eject protesters during D’Arcy court hearing
Anti-war activists disrupt proceedings in Ennis
Margaretta D’Arcy being escorted into Ennis Court yesterday.
Four supporters of anti-war activist Margaretta D’Arcy (79) were forcibly removed by gardaí from court in Ennis yesterday after disrupting proceedings by holding up banners and chanting anti-war slogans.
A large number of D’Arcy’s supporters had gathered in court for her appearance concerning an alleged illegal incursion at Shannon Airport in September 2012.
Yesterday was D’Arcy’s first public appearance since her jailing on Wednesday of last week relating to her not signing a bond that resulted in her suspended three-month term being activated. The sentence arose from the activist’s conviction for illegally entering Shannon Airport in October 2012.
Additional gardaí were in place in court yesterday for the appearance of D’Arcy, who is representing herself in court.
“It would save time if you threw the case out of court. It costs a lot of money and there was nothing broke,” D’Arcy told Judge Patrick Durcan when her case was called.
Insp Tom Kennedy said that he wished to make an amendment to the charge and Judge Durcan said D’Arcy was representing herself and should be put on notice of any change.
Judge Durcan said the case should be adjourned to February 13th to Ennis District Court when any preliminary issues relating to the case will be addressed.
As the judge concluded the short hearing, Maura Harrington – best known for her opposition to Shell’s Corrib gas development – began chanting “Free Shannon Airport from the US military”. Several others joined in and stood up to display posters.
Gardaí immediately removed Ms Harrington from court along with her husband, Naoise Ó Mongáin, who was suspected by gardaí of recording proceedings, and two others.
After they were removed, Judge Durcan said: “There has been so much disturbance in court today that a number of people have left the courtroom out of fear.”
Gardaí later prevented D’Arcy’s supporters from gaining access to the courthouse.
Before the court rose for lunch, Judge Durcan ordered Mr Ó Mongáin and Ms Harrington to be taken down to the cells. After 3.30pm, Judge Durcan ordered that the couple be brought up separately to court.
Judge Durcan told Mr Ó Mongáin that he did disrupt proceedings earlier, but that he was free to go. He then told Ms Harrington her time in custody “fairly balances out what occurred earlier”.
He said: “I regard the matter as terminated.”