Margaretta D’Arcy given two week sentence for Shannon incursion

Judge offers to suspend sentence if anti-war activist (80) agrees to enter into bond

A file photograph of Margaretta Darcy protesting at the Women’s No To War Camp at Shannon Airport in 2003. She has been given a two week suspended sentence for making an unauthorised incursion into Shannon airport last September. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times.

A file photograph of Margaretta Darcy protesting at the Women’s No To War Camp at Shannon Airport in 2003. She has been given a two week suspended sentence for making an unauthorised incursion into Shannon airport last September. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times.

Tue, Jun 24, 2014, 20:37

Anti-war activist Margaretta D’Arcy has been given a two week jail sentence for entering an unauthorised zone at Shannon airport.

Judge Patrick Durcan offered to suspend if she signs a bond undertaking to remain lawful and not to enter unauthorised zones at the airport again. Ms D’Arcy (80) said she was prepared to go to jail again.

Judge Durcan handed down two week jail sentences at Ennis District Court to Ms D’Arcy, of Woodquay, Galway, and co-accused, Niall Farrell of Ballynacloghy, Maree, Oranmore, Co Galway, for an unauthorised incursion into Shannon airport in September of last year.

Ms D’Arcy served a three month jail term earlier this year after refusing to sign a bond agreeing not to enter the unauthorised zones at Shannon airport.

Prior to sentence, Ms D’Arcy told Judge Durcan: “I did some service to the State and Niall and I as Irish citizens should be given medals.”

Addressing Judge Durcan, Ms D’Arcy said: “I don’t care whether you find me guilty or not. I welcome going to jail again - I can’t go immediately because of chemo.”

She said she will enjoy eating some of the 200,000 tubs of ice-cream recently ordered by the prison authorities while in prison.

During the case, Judge Durcan was highly critical of gardaí for hand-cuffing both accused when arrested.

Dublin North TD Clare Daly, security analyst Tom Clonan, Nobel Prize winner Mairead Maguire, and Dr John Lannon and Dr Ed Horgan, of Shannonwatch, all gave evidence on behalf of Ms D’Arcy who was representing herself.

Dr Clonan said that 2.25 million US troops have passed through Shannon since 2002 “making it the largest invading force to have ever passed through Ireland in its history”.

“Whilst I wouldn’t agree with Margaretta D’Arcy and other people in this courtroom on their politics, but I do agree 100 per cent with them in identifying Shannon for what it is — an essential and key component of the US military projection of power,” Mr Clonan said.

Judge Durcan said that he accepted that the issues in court caused genuine and honest concern “but the issues must be articulated within the law”.