Protesters call for release of ‘Guantanamo Granny’

IMG_3959686538569PROTESTERS outside Limerick Prison called for the release of 79-year-old anti-war activist Margaretta D’Arcy who was jailed for three months in relation to protests over the US military use of Shannon Airport.

Ms D’Arcy from Galway, was given a three-month suspended sentences by Judge Patrick Durcan at Ennis District Court last December for illegal incursion of the runway at Shannon Airport on October 7, 2012.

Last week, Ms D’Arcy, a Parkinson’s sufferer who is also undergoing treatment for cancer, had the three-month suspended sentence activated after she refused to sign a bond to uphold the law and keep away from unauthorised zones at Shannon.

Peace and human rights organisation Shannonwatch now plan to hold regular weekly demonstrations outside Limerick Prison every Friday at 5pm until such time as the jailed activist is released.

“Margaretta D’Arcy is not a war criminal. Nor is she a human rights abuser, or the commander of an invading army” said Shannonwatch spokesperson John Lannon.

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“But she has spent many years drawing attention to the fact that these type of people pass through Shannon Airport regularly. The legally and morally correct response from the Irish police would be to investigate this complicity in wrongdoing at Shannon. Instead they imprisoned 79-year-old Margaretta because she wouldn’t promise to stay away from the airport”, he said.

Protesters outside Limerick Prison last Friday described Ms D’Arcy’s incarceration as “imhumane” and called for the immediate release of the ‘Guantanamo Granny’.

Local election candidate for the Anti Austerity Alliance, Cian Prendiville said, “While Margaretta has been imprisoned for peaceful protest, the warmongers she was exposing are still running free.”

Irish Anti-War Movement (IAWM) spokesman Jim Roche said: “It is amazing that the Irish Government can jail a 79-year-old woman who is suffering from Parkinson’s and cancer yet has persistently refused to search US war planes at Shannon, one of which recently was found to be heavily armed, and has failed miserably to jail anyone related to the activities in the banking sector that has brought the country such ruin,” said Mr Roche.

Last Friday’s protest outside Limerick Prison, calling for the release of the 79-year-old, was organised by Shannonwatch. The group is now calling for people to email Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter TD, at to seek her immediate release.

Picture by Wally Cassidy