Jailing of Irish writer and activist


Sir, – I have loved and admired 79-year-old Margaretta D’Arcy for 40 years. I do not plead for mercy for her. The moment she gets out, she will be back on her justifiable protest. The Government has a problem on its hands, (as now, do I, at 69, yet again. In this case, a joyful one.) We pensioners have not gone away , you know. – Yours, etc,


Rugby Road, Dublin 6.

Sir, – I join with my fellow artists in calling for the release, on compassionate grounds, of our colleague, Margaretta D’Arcy, from Limerick prison.

Surely, by refusing to discontinue her anti-war activism, she is doing precisely that which is required of her by the court – undertaking to keep the peace? – Yours, etc,


The Crescent,

Monkstown, Co Dublin.

Sir, – In expressing his acute indignation at the imprisonment of Margaretta D’Arcy (January 18th), Theo Dorgan makes some extraordinary comments.

He notes that “as the decision to imprison Ms. D’Arcy was taken by organs of the State, it is not possible to view her incarceration as other than a political act”.

To my knowledge, the decision to send Ms.D’Arcy to jail was taken by a judge in a republic which operates a classic separation of powers between the political and judicial systems. Despite all of our failings as a State, that separation remains intact.

Mr Dorgan further notes the jailing of elderly people for “offences technical in nature (such as failing to purchase a TV licence)”. Failure to purchase a TV licence is not a technical offence, it is an offence proper.

Ms D’Arcy is free to protest about whatever she wishes to as much as she likes. She may not do so, however, having trespassed on the tarmac of an airport. She was given a reasonable option to avoid prison which she declined. Her peacenik and artistic pals should calm down. The rest of us will at least be spared her letters to The Irish Times for a while.

I wish her well personally. – yours, etc,


Clontarf Road, Dublin 3.