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our photograph (Irish Examiner, February 4) of four TDs tying yellow ribbons to the gates of Leinster House, in support of Margaretta D’arcy, who is in Limerick Prison, is revealing.
All the TDs were women and none were from Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael or the Labour Party. Three were Independents and one was from Sinn Féin. Justice Minister Alan Shatter, in response to questions in the Dáil, said it was regretful that peace activist D’arcy had not entered into a bond that would have exempted her from a three-month prison sentence for trespass at Shannon Airport. Shatter said the rule of law must prevail.
In June 2013, Shatter introduced legislation granting a pardon and amnesty to those who had absented themselves from the Defence Forces, without leave or permission, to fight against Nazism.
Shatter said that despite the illegality of their actions, the Government recognised the value and importance of their military contribution to peace.
D’arcy’s actions, like those who deserted the Irish Defence Forces during WWII, were illegal, but were no less moral and ethical.
There are times and issues when duties and responsibilities transcend national obligations and obedience to law.
This was recognised by the State in the apology and pardon granted to Irish army deserters. It should be applied equally to D’arcy.
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