Protests set to continue to free Margaretta, 79, from prison

Margaretta D'Arcy, 79, leaving Limerick court. Picture: Brian Gavin Press 22

Margaretta D'Arcy, 79, leaving Limerick court. Picture: Brian Gavin Press 22

  • by Anne Sheridan

PROTESTS will continue outside Limerick Prison and the Dail this week to call for the release of 79-year-old peace activist Margaretta D’Arcy, who has been jailed for three months.

However, it’s believed that she may be transferred to Mountjoy Prison due to her ongoing treatment for a number of medical conditions.

Her incarceration also attracted further controversy and debate when she was visited last weekend by Sabina Higgins, the wife of President Michael D Higgins, and a life-long friend of hers in the Mulgrave Street jail. Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore also said the visit was “appropriate”, and said he hopes Ms D’Arcy’s legal team are working to get her released as soon as possible.

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams questioned if it was appropriate for Ms D’Arcy to be held in prison. Taoiseach Enda Kenny said no politician had a role in decisions by the judiciary.

Ms D’Arcy, who is undergoing treatment for cancer, was jailed for refusing to sign a bond to uphold the law and keep away from unauthorised zones at Shannon airport. She received a three-month suspended sentence last month for illegal incursion on the runway at Shannon airport on October 7, 2012 during a protest over US military use.

The sentence was activated when she refused to sign the bond and she was escorted from her Galway home to Limerick.

This Wednesday, she appeared before Ennis District Court to set a date for their second trial for protesting on the runway at Shannon Airport in September 2013. Four members of the public protesting against the use of Shannon Airport by the US military were removed from the courtroom. A member of the public who recorded the proceedings was also ordered to be brought before the court.

Ms D’Arcy’s first remark to Judge Patrick Durcan was “I’m surprised that you are not in the dock with me”.

Her son, Finn Arden, and several peace activists visited the prison this week, and said she had raised serious concerns about conditions within the high security female section of Limerick prison.

In a statement issued by Shannonwatch, they said: “She was in good form and very determined to continue her ‘conversation with the State’ from within the walls and barbed wire of Limerick Prison.” Regarding her release from prison, they said she will only sign any documents if “the government takes steps to end the US military use of Shannon airport”. The protests will continue outside Limerick Prison each Friday, from 5-6pm.


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