An 80-year-old artist and peace activist, battling cancer, is serving her second prison sentence over her opposition of the use of Shannon airport, in County Clare, by the United States military.
Margaretta D’Arcy, recognized by the Irish Government for her contribution to the arts, a member of Aosdana, refused to sign a bond pledging not to enter unauthorized areas at Shannon airport.
D'Arcy, and her fellow protester are against Shannon's alleged facilitating of CIA secret detentions, rendition and interrogation programme in the years after the 2001 9/11 attacks.
The elderly activist said she was prepared to go to jail but would have to wait until she was finished her current round of chemotherapy treatment for cancer.
Wearing a “Guantanamo-style” orange boiler suit D’Arcy told the press in Galway that she intended to go on hunger strike in support of prisoners everywhere and in solidarity for those who had lost their lives, their communities and had their homes destroyed by the United States military.
Her supporters in the Galway Alliance Against War grouping said in a statement “Margaretta D’Arcy has the intention to abstain from food during her two-week detention in a small gesture of solidarity with all those who have lost their lives, their communities and homes destroyed.
"The Irish Government has to take responsibility because of its complicity in allowing the US military the use of Shannon, a civilian airport." D’Arcy’s son, Finn Arden, told reporters he understood she was being taken to Limerick prison.
Dublin North TD Clare Daly; security analyst Tom Clonan; Nobel Prize winner Mairead Maguire; and Shannonwatch representatives Dr John Lannon and Dr Ed Horgan all gave evidence in court last week on behalf of D’Arcy, who was representing herself.
D’Arcy and Niall Farrell, both from Galway, were sentenced to two weeks in prison and fined $ 136 (€100) each for entering an unauthorized area at Shannon airport, to protest, in September 2013.
Judge Patrick Durcan offered D’Arcy a suspended sentence is she signed a bond promising to remain lawful and not enter Shannon airport’s unauthorized zones again. She refused to sign.
Earlier in 2014 D’Arcy served nine-and-a-half weeks of a three-month, for a similar offense, at Limerick prison and later at Dóchas women’s prison in Mountjoy, Dublin.
Speaking to a panel of Irish politicians in 2013 D’Arcy said Shannon airport is at the center of an aggressive illegal war that destroys people.
She said that Ireland, which was once considered a “nice neutral country” is now considered “a blood-ridden country… We now can be accused of being war criminals.”
D’Arcy ended saying “I would prefer to blow myself up on the runway with petrol rather than have to go down in history as being a war criminal.”
Here D'Arcy speaks at length following her release from prision in 2013:
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