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Peace activist jailed printable version
02 Aug 2014: posted by the editor - Ireland
(updated 2 Aug)
Founder member of the Galway Alliance Against War Niall Farrell yesterday surrendered himself at Mill St Garda Station in Galway to begin a two-week sentence.
Along with peace activist Margaretta D’Arcy he had been convicted and fined at Ennis District Court on June 24. The pair were convicted of entering a part of Shannon Airport which is closed to the public.
Both were ordered to sign a bond promising that they would not trespass at the airport again. They refused to pay the fine or to sign the bond and Ms D’Arcy was re-imprisoned before being released.
Farrell had been on holiday in Berlin in recent weeks and contacted gardaí to confirm that he would present himself yesterday.
At a rally in Eyre Square beforehand, Farrell told a crowd off about 50 supporters that exactly 100 years ago Ireland had been drawn into the First World War and 100 years later people were still campaigning against war.
Farrell has written to the minister for justice demanding he be treated as a political prisoner while in prison.
(previous report—28 July)
Niall Farrell of the Galway Alliance Against War is to be arrested on Friday, 1 August on his return from abroad and sent to Limerick Prison for his involvement in a peace protest with Margaretta D’Arcy last September on the runway at Shannon airport.
In June Farrell ands D'Arcy were found guilty of having "interfered with the proper use" of Shannon airport and given a two week suspended sentence and what approximates to a €100 fine. Both refused to pay the fine or sign a so-called peace bond and Ms D'Arcy has since been imprisoned for her failure to comply with the Ennis District Court's ruling.
Ms D'Arcy (80) and Mr Farrell (61) held the peace protest on the 1st September 2013 as it appeared a US war against Syria was imminent. The two peace activists were involved in a similar action on October 7th 2012, the 11th anniversary of the US war against Afghanistan, in opposition to the use of Shannon's airport by the US military for which Ms D'Arcy was imprisoned for nearly 10 weeks.
The Gardaí have been in contact with Mr Farrell and the latter has agreed to surrender himself in the proximity of Liam Mellows statue on Eyre Square, Galway this coming Friday 1st August at 1.30pm.
In response to this development the Galway Alliance Against War intends to hold a short peace event at 1pm in front of the monument to Liam Mellows, the leader of the 1916 Rising in Galway, in what the peace group notes is "the centenary year of the 1st World War – that so-called ‘war to end all wars'."
The Slaughter in Gaza—the Shannon Connection
In a statement released by GAAW Niall Farrell stated: "In the last week, the Irish state failed to support a United Nations war crimes investigation into the slaughter in Gaza, this is no surprise. The Irish Government has consistently colluded with the US/Israeli military subjugation of the Palestinian people. Shannon airport has been used in the past to transport weapons of war to the Israelis. In 2006 Apache-attack helicopters were brought through Shannon en route to Israel. The failure of the authorities to search any US military planes suggests that this type of military equipment continues to travel freely through this airport.
"The irony of our convitcion is that the very Air Navigation Act used to prosecute Margaretta and myself gives the Irish state the power to search all aircraft landing at Shannon. The Irish Government in deference to the demands of Washington refuses to do this. The TDs Clare Daly and Mick Wallace must be praised for their attempt last week to carry out the Irish people's legal right to search US military planes on Irish soil.
"Besides the US military traffic landing at Shannon there are an abundance of US military transport planes with their cargoes of death travelling on a daily basis through Irish airspace. What makes this fact even more appalling is that we the citizens of this Irish state actually finance their passage through our airspace. As Tom Clonan, the Security Correspondent of the Irish Times, has noted in "2004 alone, €3.6 million in navigation fees for US military aircraft" (p223 Whistleblower, Soldier, Spy).
"The holding of a peace event this Friday at 1pm before Mellows' statue prior to my arrest is fitting in this the centenary year of the imperialist bloodbath that was World War I. The 1916 Easter Rising, led by Mellows in Galway, was an insurrection against both British rule and Irish involvement in an imperialist war. For the past 13 years Ireland has been involved in a series of illegal imperialist conflicts via Shannon and Irish airspace. In addition, our own Defence Forces are now involved in the occupation of Afghanistan and Mali. Through Irish complicity in these wars, we the Irish people have the blood of at least one million innocent people on our hands and have become accessories to "extraordinary rendition"; in other words to torture and kidnapping. Therefore in this context, Margaretta D'Arcy, Clare Daly, Mick Wallace and I have not broken any laws, but have attempted to uphold national and international law.
"The peace actions of Margaretta and myself are a humble attempt to stand up for the anti-imperialist principles of those who rose in Easter 1916 to achieve an independent Irish Republic with an anti-imperialist foreign policy."
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