Protestors intended to damage aircraft, prosecution claims

Five anti-war protesters charged with damaging a United States aircraft in a hanger at Shannon Airport in February 2003 "did what they did" with every intention of causing damage to property, a Dublin Circuit Criminal Court jury has heard.

Five anti-war protesters charged with damaging a United States aircraft in a hanger at Shannon Airport in February 2003 "did what they did" with every intention of causing damage to property, a Dublin Circuit Criminal Court jury has heard.

Mr Conor Devally SC (with Mr Luan O Braonain BL), prosecuting, said in opening the case to a jury of nine women and three men, the accused damaged the aircraft with no lawful excuse.

Mr Devally said the prosecution would seek to prove beyond reasonable doubt what the three women and two men on trial did was done intentionally and that it was not something that just happened while they were pursuing some other course of action.

Mr Devally told the jury that it would hear evidence the five accused entered the airport premises around 3am on February 3, 2003 just as the garda officer who was in charge of security of the hangar and aircraft took a break.

The officer was alerted by the noise of people entering the building and saw them moving towards the Boeing 737-700 aircraft parked in the hangar. Their movements were purposeful and they were all carrying various implements.

Mr Devally said that as the lone officer on duty, the five people were able to avoid him and attack the aircraft with the various implements they were carrying. They attacked the nose section of the aircraft as well as various other parts of it.

The garda on duty radioed for assistance and was able to apprehend the protesters a short while later with the assistance of other gardaí who arrived at the scene.

"Their mode of entry had been to smash a door," Mr Devally told the jury. "The main evidence is that the people who are accused entered the place and did what they did with intent."

The five are Damien Moran, a student priest with the Holy Ghost Fathers in Dublin; Ciaran O’Reilly, an Australian both working with homeless people and living at the same address on South Circular Road, Rialto; Nuin Dunlop, from the United States of America, a trained counsellor who lives in Dublin city centre; Karen Fallon, a Scottish marine biologist living on South Circular Road, Dublin 8; and Deirdre Clancy, a copy editor from Clontarf, Dublin.

They all pleaded not guilty to one count of damaging a US naval plane and to causing similar damage to two glass door panels at Aer Rianta at Shannon Airport on February 3, 2003.

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