Activist D’Arcy released from prison

 Irish Times 19th July 2014
Lorna Siggins, David Raleigh

An elderly artist and anti-war activist, who was released early from prison yesterday, after serving part of a second prison sentence over her opposition to the US military use of Shannon Airport, has described conditions inside Limerick Prison as “inhumane”.

Margaretta D’Arcy (80), from Woodquay, Galway, who is a close friend of President Michael D Higgins and of his wife Sabina Coyne, said she had to defecate in the same cell where she ate her meals, and was locked up 23 hours a day.

Ms D’Arcy was released by the prison authorities five days before her custodial term ended. The Galway pensioner, who is receiving cancer treatment, had not eaten for some days after being taken into custody just over a week ago.

Judge Patrick Durcan had offered to suspend the sentence if she signed a bond undertaking to remain lawful and not to enter unauthorised zones at the airport again. However, Ms D’Arcy refused to sign the bond.

Ms D’Arcy abstained from food during the first few days of her detention after she was taken to prison. She said this was in solidarity with victims of war, and the people of Gaza in particular.