Major peace protest under way in Shannon

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Jailed peace activist Margaretta D'Arcy with her lifelong partner, playwright John Arden who died in March, 2012.
Jailed peace activist Margaretta D’Arcy with her lifelong partner, playwright John Arden who died in March, 2012.

A large peace demonstration is taking place in Shannon in opposition to the U.S. military use of the airport, and in solidarity with imprisoned peace activist Margaretta D’Arcy.

There was an increased Garda presence near the airport in advance of the protest which is taking place from 2pm to 3pm.

The 79 year old Galway woman, who is suffering from ill health, is serving a jail sentence at Limerick Prison, for taking her campaign onto the runway in Shannon at a similar event in 2012.

Protests at Shannon Airport have been taking place on a monthly basis in recent years with Anti-War activists calling for an end to US Military traffic and stopovers, and though numbers have been low at these events, a larger demonstration is anticipated today in solidarity with Ms D’Arcy.

The elderly writer is a personal friend of the wife of President Michael D Higgins and her imprisonment has placed a renewed spotlight on Shannon and the anti-war movement in Ireland.

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Organisers of this afternoon’s event expect buses to bring supporters from Dublin and Galway and protests already took place outside Dail Eireann this week.

There the Justice Minister said Ms D’Arcy could be released immediately, but only if she agrees to stay away from unauthorised zones at Shannon, as directed by Ennis District Court last December.

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams used part of his address at the party’s Ard Fheis in Wexford last night to urge the government to allow the Galway woman leave prison