Wallace and Daly spend brief spell in Limerick Prison

Pair held over refusal to pay court fines for breach of security at Shannon Airport

Independent TD Mick Wallace has been arrested over the non-payment of a fine in respect of a protest at Shannon Airport. Video: Kathryn Hayes

 

Socialist TD Clare Daly was released after a short spell in custody at Limerick Prison on Wednesday night, hours after Independent TD Mick Wallace spent two hours in the same jail.

The TDs were arrested over their refusal to pay €2,000 court fines for entering a restricted area at Shannon Airport on July 22nd, 2014, with a view to inspecting US military aircraft.

Ms Daly arrived at the jail at 9.15pm, after being driven by gardaí from Dublin. As the unmarked Garda car entered Limerick Prison she gave a thumbs up to Ed Horgan of Shannon Watch.

Mr Wallace was arrested by appointment at his local Garda station in Clontarf, Dublin, on Wednesday and was transferred to Limerick Prison.

He said he was given temporary release and could be arrested again, although he said he did not believe this would happen.

“It wouldn’t be normal. Normally you wouldn’t be, I’m led to understand,” he said after spending two hours in jail. He added he has still has “no intention” of paying the fine.

Let go

“I was just taken in for a few hours and they told me I was being let go,” he told RTÉ Radio. “It is called temporary release, as far as I know. I went in a car with two gardaí.”

He said he was asked to attend at Clontarf station at 11.30am on Wednesday morning and transferred by Garda car to Limerick, after briefly returning home for some clothes and books to see him through what he expected would be a 30-day term.

“I didn’t know, I was asked to call around,” he said. “They knew I was going to be arrested but I didn’t understand it that way. I wasn’t in a cell, I was in a room. I was on my own. There was people passing by every so often. I knew I would be [arrested] at some stage, I didn’t expect it today.”

Outrageous

Mr Wallace said he can be rearrested at any time in the next 30 days but added he did not know if that will happen.

However, he said it is “outrageous that Shannon is still being used” and, speaking immediately after he was released, said he would be willing to breach security at Shannon Airport again.

“Don’t worry, we will get in there [Shannon Airport] again. It’s an absolute disgrace that the planes are not being searched and we will keep at this until the government cops on to itself and stops allowing Shannon to be used as a military airbase to kill innocent people.”

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar said it is unacceptable that a member of the Dáil was breaking the law.

“There is a responsibility on people who make the law to obey the law,” he said in Dublin. “I imagine they [Mr Wallace and Ms Daly] will argue they did this as a form of protest and that is a decision for them. It does occur to me the instability that might arise from having a Government that is dependent on Independents for support.

“Because you might come to an agreement with some Independents in order to form a Government but then you might find those Independents are in jail because of a protest and the Government falls.”

Mr Varadkar said he would have “serious concerns” that they might miss very important votes because they are in prison.