During her trial, Margaretta D’Arcy tried to make a citizen’s arrest of the judge for collaborating in war crimes and refused to sign a bond prohibiting her from entering ‘unauthorised zones’

MargarettaMargaretta D’Arcy, 79-year old feminist, peace activist and film-maker has been jailed for three months in Limerick Prison in relation to protests over US military use of Ireland’s Shannon Airport.

She was convicted in December 2012 of “endangering lives by blocking two flights from landing at Shannon”, when she and activist Niall Farrell protested peacefully against the use of airport by the US military.

At the time of the protest, Galway Alliance Against War issued 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…we feel we have no alternative but to block the runway at Shannon to highlight Irish involvement in this carnage.’

During her trial, Margaretta D’Arcy tried to make a citizen’s arrest of the judge on grounds of collaboration in war crimes. She also refused to sign a bond prohibiting her from entering “unauthorised zones” at Shannon Airport. She was told that this would result in being sentenced to three months in prison.

On 15 January 2014, the 79 year old anti-war campaigner, who is undergoing cancer treatment, was arrested at her home for her continuing refusal to sign the bond, and taken to Limerick prison to serve her sentence.

In prison, she remains defiant, asking that protestors demand not for her own release but the release of Shannon airport from the US military.

The campaign Shannonwatch said it was a “travesty of justice when the peace activists end up in prison, while there is no investigation of war criminals using the airport”.

Margaretta D’Arcy was married to the late playwright John Arden and has been a peace activist since joining the anti-nuclear Committee of 100 led by Bertrand Russell in 1961. She was a member of the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp.

The Irish artists Dylan Tighe and Donal O’Kelly have drafted a letter to Irish Times, “to protest against the outrageous jailing of artist Margaretta D’Arcy for protesting against use of Shannon Airport by the US Military”.

‘As Irish artists we are deeply disturbed and outraged at the jailing of artist Margaretta D’Arcy for protesting against the use of Shannon Airport by US warplanes. This grossly inappropriate and shameful treatment of a 79-year old woman suffering from Parkinson’s disease is made all the more shocking when we consider that the state has refused to jail any of the politicians or bankers responsible for the near collapse of the state, yet seeks to jail an elderly artist for standing up for integrity and human rights . We declare ourselves in complete solidarity with her actions, applaud her bravery in a time of tremendous cowardice, and call for her immediate release.’

From Stop the war coalition

Your can add your name to the letter on the Facebook page set up to protest against Margaretta D’Arcy’s imprisonment.
Please send her a card or postcard in solidarity as it will help keep her spirits up. Write to Margaretta D’Arcy, c/o Limerick Prison, Mulgrave Street, Limerick, Ireland.