Whistleblowing ‘Guantanamo granny’ back in court

Niall Farrell and Margaretta Darcy outside the court in Ennis. Picture: Eamon Ward

A packed courtroom yesterday erupted into laughter after ‘Guantanamo Granny’ — 79-year-old anti-war activist Margaretta Darcy — blew a whistle and declared: “I am a whistleblower”.

Dressed in an orange Guantanamo-style jumpsuit, the grandmother of six was making her third appearance in court in relation to two alleged incursions at Shannon Airport in Oct 2012 and earlier this month.

At her previous appearance at Ennis District Court in July, Ms Darcy — who requires the use of a walking frame — disrupted court sittings by confronting Judge Patrick Durcan after refusing to stand down from a bench in front of him.

Ms Darcy, of St Bridget’s Place, Woodquay, Co Galway, made her intervention yesterday just moments after her co-accused, Niall Farrell, aged 60, of Ballynacloghy, Maree, Oranmore, Co Galway, was ordered from court after failing to stay silent.

Mr Farrell was also dressed in an orange jumpsuit. As he was being led from court, Mr Farrell placed a rubber Barack Obama mask on his face.

Addressing Judge Durcan before he was expelled, Mr Farrell said: “I want to argue that you should strike this out because it is not an offence, it is an act of humanity. What I did was not a crime.”

Mr Farrell said: “I am not seeking publicity for myself, but publicity for the blood that is on the hands of every Irish person because of what is happening at Shannon.”

Mr Farrell told Judge Durcan: “You are ignoring the fact that murder is being committed via Shannon Airport; you are ignoring the fact that over 2m people have died over the past 12 years — you are ignoring all of this.”

After Judge Durcan ordered his removal under Garda escort, Mr Farrell said: “You can remove me from the courtroom, but you can’t remove the blood from all our hands.”

Moments later, Ms Darcy declared she was a whistleblower for the continuing US military use of Shannon. She said: “Everyone here at the court at the moment, there are US warplanes at Shannon. The Irish Government is guilty of complicity and if you are against war, say ‘no to war’.

“Can I please beg of you to go to the Government and ask for the removal of warplanes at Shannon — because no one wants war.”

Outlining facts around the latest alleged incursion on Sept 1, Insp Tom Kennedy said the pair were found on the airfield at Shannon by security personnel. This followed a similar alleged incursion last October.

Judge Durcan adjourned the case to Ennis District Court for Oct 2.


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