Anti-war protests defended

One of five anti-war protestors charged with damaging a United States of America aircraft at Shannon Airport in February 2003 described their actions as "disarmament in a non-violent and legal way", a jury at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court has heard.

One of five anti-war protestors charged with damaging a United States of America aircraft at Shannon Airport in February 2003 described their actions as "disarmament in a non-violent and legal way", a jury at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court has heard.

When interviewed by gardaí shortly after the incident on February 3, 2003, Mr Ciaran O’Reilly, an Australian national living in Dublin and working with homeless people, told gardaí that what they were doing was "a systematic cover-up of the deaths of one and a half million Iraqi children".

Detective Sergeant Michael Houlihan told prosecuting counsel, Mr Conor Devally SC (with Mr Luan O Braonain BL), that Mr O’Reilly then produced a document entitled "Statement of Faith" which he said explained his actions.

The two-page typed document alleged that "the activities going on at the Shannon Airport" undermined International Law and was against the Irish Constitution.

When asked if he regretted his actions at the airport he replied: "No" and said what he and the other protestors had engaged in was "disarmament in a non-violent and legal way".

Mr Damien Moran, a student priest who also works with homeless people and shares an address on South Circular Road, Rialto, told Det. Sgt Houlihan shortly after his arrest: "I honestly believed I had a lawful excuse to commit an act of disarmament to protect the lives and property of myself and others."

Ms Dierdre Clancy, a copy editor, of The Spinnaker, Alverno, Clontarf, when charged with criminal damage at Ennis Court on March 21, 2003, replied: "The charge accuses me of reckless damage, but the reckless damage being caused to an innocent population is being ignored."

She also said that there was "no attempt being made to investigate the real crime".

The other two protestors charged with 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 are Ms Karen Fallon a Scottish marine biologist, also living on South Circular Road; Ms Nuin Dunlop, from the United States of America, a trained counsellor who lives in Dublin city centre.

They have 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

The hearing continues before Judge Frank O’Donnell and a jury of nine women and three men.

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