Court Report Margareta D’Arcy and Niall Farrell, Ennis District Court, 11 September 2013

Judge Patrick Durkan presiding

Unusually, the case against Margaretta D'Arcy and Niall Farrell was dealt with before lunch at Ennis District court yesterday (Wednesday, 11th Sept). Normally cases involving peace activists tend to be postponed until the end of the court session, thereby inconveniencing the peace activists as much as possible. Perhaps it was because Margaretta and Niall were dressed in orange Guantanamo style boiler suits that the authorities decided to get them out of court as quickly as possible.

Report on a Busy Weekend of Action at Shannon

Two days of action at Shannon Airport this weekend, in which we once again highlighted its links to human rights abuses and unjustified wars, were marked by contrasting attitudes by the State authorities. On the first, a solidarity fast for the prisoners at Guantanamo saw little more than occasional observation by the Gardai. On the second, they maintained a large and unnecessary presence that blocked participants' access to the airport.

Number of U.S. Military Aircraft at Shannon Raises Concerns

Shannonwatch have called on the Minister for Foreign Affairs to clarify the significance of several U.S. troop carriers and other military aircraft at Shannon Airport in the run-up to what might well be a U.S. led attack on Syria. As U.S. President Barack Obama continues to look for support for an attack that would have serious repercussions for the Syrian people and the region as a whole, the organisation calls on the Irish government to make its opposition clear by immediately ending the U.S. military use of the airport.

In the last week Shannonwatch recorded 14 U.S. military aircraft as well as four troop carriers at Shannon Airport. The military aircraft included Hercules C-130s operated by the U.S. Air Force and Navy, and two KC-10s. The KC-10 is a military version of the DC-10 and is used by the U.S. Air Force for transport and aerial refuelling. The presence of the KC-10s at Shannon could indicate that other US military aircraft are being refuelled in or near Irish airspace. 

Ireland Should Not Support a U.S. Led Attack on Syria

Nobel Peace Prize winner Obama who now wants to bomb another country. (Original image here)

Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Glimore said in a statement today that any response to the use of chemical weapons in Syria has to be through the United Nations. He is correct, and as he probably knows this was also true in the case of Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and elsewhere.

In follow-up to the statement he made, Mr Gilmore should ensure that in the event of a U.S. led attack on Syria, that Irish airspace and Shannon airport are not used in any way to facilitate U.S. war efforts in the Middle East. All U.S. military aircraft passing through Shannon airport should be inspected and investigated in the interim period, and there should be a total ban on US military aircraft using Irish airspace and Irish airports for the duration of any U.S. led attacks on Syria.

Court Report Margaretta Darcy and Niall Farrell, Limerick District Court, 2 September 2013

At about 3.45 pm on Sunday September 1st peace activists Margaretta Darcy and Niall Farrell were arrested in Shannon airport in the vicinity of the main runway. They were taken to Shannon Garda station where they were questioned and detained overnight. They were then brought before Limerick District Court at on 2nd September 2013 with Judge Eugene O'Kelly presiding. About 45 minutes after the arrests of Darcy and Farrell two other individuals, including photo-journalist and human rights activist Tommy Donnellan, were arrested several miles from the scene of the airport incursion.  Tommy and his friend were later released without charge.

In a statement the Galway Alliance Against War said it wanted to highlight the use of the airport by the US.

"By allowing the US military to use Irish airspace and Shannon airport to wage wars we have become a willing accessory to mass murder. We have blood on our hands," the group said.

D'Arcy and Farrell have been charged over a similar protest at Shannon on 7th October 2012 when the perimeter fence was breached and an incursion made on to the runway.

Galway Alliance Against War Activists Block Shannon Runway

This afternoon two members of the Galway Alliance Against War, Margaretta D'Arcy (79) and Niall Farrell (60) blocked the runway at Shannon airport to express their opposition to the continued use of the airfield by the US military as part of its wars in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. On behalf of the two peace activists, the Galway Alliance Against War released the following statement:

"Over the past twelve years consecutive Irish governments have colluded in Washington's campaign of wars from Afghanistan to Yemen, in which up to 2 million people have perished. By allowing the US military to use Irish airspace and Shannon airport to wage these wars we have become a willing accessory to mass murder. We have blood on our hands.

Bradley Manning Sentence "Barbaric"

Today in Galway’s city centre members of the local peace group, the Galway Alliance Against War, held a two hour vigil as part of an international protest in solidarity with Bradley Manning, to coincide with his sentencing on charges of leaking to Wikileaks information that revealed to the world US war crimes in Iraq.

Responding to the 35 year sentence handed down to Private Manning by a US court martial this afternoon, GAAW’s PRO, Niall Farrell said: “Barbaric is the word that comes to mind. But barbarism is what we have come to expect from the warmongers in Washington. They cannot stomach the truth of their crimes leaking out".

News and Photos from Shannon that You Won't See Reported Elsewhere

A photograph from Shannon Airport that you will not see in the mainstream media

Shannon Airport has featured in the news a number of times over the last few weeks. On August 7th a US Airways flight that left the airport with 177 passengers on board was met by emergency services at Philadelphia Airport, following a bomb threat. Passengers and crew were rushed off the aircraft to a secure area before the threat was declared “unfounded”.

A day later the media reported that around 100 people were left stranded at Shannon following a technical problem on an Aer Lingus plane. This caused the cancellation of a scheduled flight from Shannon to Boston.

Court Report: Margaretta D'Arcy's Questions Unanswered

Margaretta outside Ennis Court

On Wednesday 10th July Margaratta D'Arcy appeared in Ennis District Court in connection with an alleged offence of improper use of Shannon Airport last October. Some of the national media reported that she caused mayhem in the court room when she confronted the judge in a bright orange jump suit. That may have been the case from some observer's point of view, but it would have been more accurate to report that she had tried to initiate a conversation relating to the charges being brought against her, and about the wider issues of war, renditions and the grave misuse of Shannon Airport.

Here is our report on the court proceedings.

Court Report

Wednesday 10th July 2013, Ennis District Court,  Judge Patrick Durkan presiding.

Defendant : Margaretta D'Arcy (representing herself)

Press Statement 10th July 2013 Ennis Court, Margaretta D'Arcy

Margaretta D'Arcy of Galway Alliance Against War attended Ennis District Court  at 10.30am on Wednesday 10th July, to face the charge that she “did interfere with the proper use of that airport by going on the runway without permission". Below is a statement from Margaretta.

It is the improper use of Shannon Airport; a civilian airport that makes me want to have this conversation with the State. Why is Shannon Airport improper? - It is endangering civilian lives and making us complicit in war crimes. It has turned a civilian airport into a military airport.