Anti-war campaigner free if she agrees to stay off Shannon runway, says Minister
Wallace says imprisonment a strange call by the State
Margaretta D’Arcy: could be released if she complies with court decision.
D’Arcy (79) is serving a three-month sentence in Limerick prison for refusing to sign a bail bond to uphold the law and keep away from unauthorised zones at the airport, following the imposition of a suspended sentence for illegal incursion of the runway in October 2012.
Mr Shatter said she was perfectly entitled to be in any part of the airport open to the general public. “My responsibility is to ensure that individuals do not wander out on to the runway in Shannon Airport, placing their lives at risk and possibly placing at risk the lives of 200 or 300 passengers,’’ he added.
“What would happen if the lady in question, accompanied by some of her friends, were to wander on to a runway, God forbid, as an aeroplane was landing ?’’
Mick Wallace (Ind) said a former UN assistant secretary general had highlighted that D’Arcy’s action was based on her belief in the Nuremberg principle of 1945, whereby individual citizens of any country had international duties and responsibilities that transcended national and domestic obligations of obedience to local law.
“The Minister can argue that she cannot be released because the law is the law, but if the law were black and white, we would not need judges,’’ he added.
Mr Wallace said it seemed a strange call on the State’s part that a 79-year-old woman had been locked up, especially given the number of people who were responsible for deaths and had not seen the inside of a prison.