Grandmother, 79, jailed for Shannon Airport protests

A 79-year-old disabled grandmother who refused to enter into a court bond to stay out of any unauthorised zone at Shannon Airport has been sent to prison to serve a three-month sentence.

Margaretta D’Arcy, a grandmother of six from Bridget’s Place, Woodquay, Galway, had been given a three-month suspended sentence at Ennis Court last December after she was convicted of unlawfully entering the airport on Oct 7, 2012.

Evidence had been heard in that sitting that she and a co-defendant, Niall Farrell of Ballynacloghy, Maree, Oranmore, Co Galway, had put the lives of those onboard incoming Aer Lingus and Ryanair flights in danger by going onto the runway.

In suspending the sentences on the pair, Judge Patrick Durcan said he was doing so on condition that they enter a bond within 14 days to agree to be of lawful behaviour and not enter any unauthorised zone at Shannon over the next two years.

Yesterday, it emerged that Ms D’Arcy had refused to sign the bond and was arrested at her home in Woodquay and taken to Limerick prison to serve her sentence.

The two members of the Galway Alliance Against War had claimed they had a legal right to protest at the airport against US military use of Shannon.

During her hearing in Ennis, Ms D’Arcy, who requires a rollator to get around, had worn a Guantanamo-style orange jumpsuit, and at one point attempted to perform a citizen’s arrest on Judge Durcan “for making Irish people active allies and participation on illegal wars”.

Her fellow campaigners have expressed outrage at the detention of the 79-year-old Parkinson’s sufferer and are calling on the justice minister to demand her release.

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