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Human Rights in Ireland >>
Whistleblowing ‘Guantanamo granny’ back in court
Friday September 13, 2013 13:49 by Margaretta D'Arcy
Court Case of Shannon Airport arrests Margaretta D'Arcy and Nial Farrel
A packed courtroom yesterday erupted into laughter after ‘Guantanamo Granny’-79-year-old anti-war activist Margaretta Darcy,
blew a whistle and declared: “I am a whistleblower”.
Margaretta D'Arcy and Nial Farrel outside Ennis Court
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.
Because of the nature and possibly seriousness of the charges, Judge Durkan had mentioned at the previous hearing on 10 July that issues of jurisdiction arose in the case, so there was a question of whether the case would be referred to the higher Circuit Court level. Judge Durkan announced on Wednesday that the DPP had decided that the case/cases should be dealt with at the lower District Court level, and he also announced that he, Judge Durkan had decided that he himself would also accept jurisdiction over the cases. This seemed to indicate that the State wished to play down the importance of the cases, perhaps to ensure the matters get as little publicity as possible.
It was also noticeable at the hearing that the Judge and the Gardai adopted a very tolerant approach to the defendants in spite of the manner of their dress in court that at times included Niall Farrell wearing an Obama mask, and in spite of what could be termed "political" type remarks by the defendants. Judge initially said he wished to deal with the cases and the charges separately, but eventually he agree to consider them all together.
Since the last hearing on 10 July when the same Judge was considering the alleged offences of Margaretta D'Arcy and Niall Farrell being on the main runway at Shannon airport on 7 October 2012, Margaretta and Niall were once again arrested on the same main runway at Shannon airport on 1 September 2013. Their reasons for this second incursion on to the runway included the fact that the "improper" use of Shannon airport by the US military and CIA that they had been protesting in 2012 was still going on, and the possibility of a US military attack on Syria being facilitated by Shannon airport obliged them to once again highlight this improper use of the main runway at Shannon airport.
Inspector Kennedy stated that Garda witnesses in these cases included Garda O'Connor and Garda Sergeant Michael O'Connor. He said that Garda statements and papers in this case were still being compiled and he suggested adjourning the cases until 2nd October 2013. It was not clear whether this was an adjournment for mention and setting a future date for trial, or if the trial was to go ahead on 2nd of October. From previous experiences it is most likely that the 2nd October hearing is for mention only and dealing with preliminary matters. Niall Farrell asked for a Garry Doyle order whereby the State's witness statements and other case papers would be made available to the defence and this was agreed.
Niall Farrell said that they had not committed any offence and that their actions were acts of humanity highlighting crimes against humanity. He was ordered to sit down and remain silent by the judge who said that otherwise he would be removed from the court. Niall then said that the public and the all the people of Ireland had blood on their hands as a result of the actions of our Government at Shannon airport. Niall was then removed from the court and as he was being removed he put on his Obama mask. As Niall was being removed from the court he said loudly: "you can remove me from the court but you can't remove the blood that stains Shannon airport and the hands of the Irish people."
Margaretta D'Arcy said that their actions were the actions of whistle-blowers, and she then took a whistle out of her pocket and blew the whistle loudly in the court-room.She stated “I am a whistle blower and I witnessed the build-up of the USA warmongers to the invasion of Syria last weekend at Shannon. The Irish Government are complicit in this threatened illegal invasion by aiding and abetting the warmongers at Shannon The people of the World have said No to WAR.”
This action did not seem to incur the same reaction from the Judge as he had reacted to Niall Farrell's remarks. Margaretta emphasised that actions were to expose the crimes against humanity being facilitated by US warplanes at Shannon, and she stated that over the past week, there were increased number of such warplanes at Shannon.
The hearing ended quickly just before lunchtime, when Inspector Kennedy and Judge Durcan agree that the hearing be adjourned until 2 October. When Margaretta attempted to make further remarks the Judge called for the next case, and the defendants and their supporters retired to a local hostelry for a well-deserved lunch.
It should be noted perhaps that the judges at Nuremberg were succinct when they stated that: "Individual citizens have the duty to violate domestic laws to prevent crimes against peace and humanity." Margaretta and Niall strongly believe that the ordinary people of Syria, and countless others, and their own self-respect, deserve nothing less now.
Caption: Irish Anti-War Activists in Court for Blocking Shannon Airport's Runway,