Another Day in Court for Four Peace Activists

Four peace activists appeared in court today at Ennis Circuit court. Two travelled from Dublin, one from Waterford and one all the way from Limerick. Their legal team from the Pat Finucane Centre travelled from Belfast and Cork to represent two of the peace activists.

The decision not to use local legal representatives is based on experience of past peace activist trials. While in theory there should be clear separation and independence between the judiciary, the prosecution, and legal representatives for defendants, in practice these three are sometimes too closely associated.

Today was the twelfth time Colm Roddy and Dave Donnellan had to appear in court on the same alleged offence and the actual trial may still be almost a year away. For Dan Dowling and Edward Horgan it was the sixth day in court, Theynow have two more dates on 13 and 18 December with no trial date any time soon.

Today's hearing was supposed to be for the peacfe activists' legal teams to make a formal application to have the trials transferred from Co Clare to Dublin. The defendants believe they cannot get a fair trail in Co Clare due to possible conflicts of interest or bias of a Co Clare jury, as well as the perceived economic benefit to the Mid West region of having the US military using Shannon Airport. At the hearing the prosecution said they had not had enough time to prepare a response to the defendants' affidavit so they all had a wasted day in court. The matter of change of venue will be discussed again briefly in court on 18th December but will likely not be dealt with until 6th February at the earliest. It applies to all four defendants.

After the court appearance, one of the peace activists said: "While it was a wasted day in court, lets not complain too much. All four of us are still alive and well, we have done nothing wrong, and are before the courts only because we wish to put an end to Irish complicity with the killing of innocent people, especially children, in the Middle East. We are whistleblowers who are prepared to undertake the inconveniences that these court cases can impose on us."

Last month the Clare Champion newspaper described Edward Horgan as "a self-confessed whistle-blower". This might suggest that being a whistleblower is somehow to be frowned upon. It shouldn't be; being a whistle-blower is a civic duty. More whistleblowers are needed to end Irish complicity in the killing of innocent people each day in the Middle East.

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