Margaretta D’Arcy (80) returned to prison

Artist jailed for second time over opposition to US military use of Shannon airport


Peace activist Margaretta D’Arcy arriving at Mill Street Garda station in Galway today. Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy

First published:  Wed, Jul 9, 2014, 18:29

·         Irish Times

Lorna Siggins

 Artist and peace activist Margaretta D’Arcy is serving another prison sentence over her opposition to the use of Shannon airport by the US military.

Ms D’Arcy, who recently celebrated her 80th birthday and is a member of Aosdana, presented herself at Mill Street Garda station in Galway this morning after she had refused to sign a bond pledging not to enter unauthorised zones at Shannon.

Ms D’Arcy of Woodquay, Galway and Niall Farrell of Ballynacloghy, Maree, Oranmore, Co Galway, were last week given two-week sentences and fined €100 each for an unauthorised incursion into Shannon airport in September 2013.

Judge Patrick Durcan offered to suspend the sentence if she signed a bond undertaking to remain lawful and not to enter unauthorised zones at the airport again.

Ms D’Arcy (80) said she was prepared to go to jail again, but could not go immediately as she was having chemotherapy treatment for cancer.

Earlier this year, Ms D’Arcy served nine-and-a-half weeks of a three-month sentence for a similar offence - initially at Limerick prison and then at Dóchas women’s prison in Mountjoy, Dublin.

Dressed in a “Guantanamo-style” orange boiler suit, Ms D’Arcy told reporters in Galway today she intended to abstain from food for an unspecificed length of time in support of prisoners everywhere and in solidarity with all those who had lost their lives, their communities and homes destroyed as a result of US military action.

“The Irish Government has to take responsibility because of its complicity in allowing the US military the use of Shannon, a civilian airport,” her supporters in the Galway Alliance Against War grouping said in a statement.

Her son, Finn Arden, said he understood she was being taken to Limerick prison.

Dublin North TD Clare Daly; security analyst Tom Clonan; Nobel Prize winner Mairead Maguire; and Shannonwatch representatives Dr John Lannon and Dr Ed Horgan all gave evidence in court last week on behalf of Ms D’Arcy, who was representing herself.