Date Released: 07 March 2014
Delegates at the ICTU Women’s Conference have overwhelmingly backed an emergency motion calling for the immediate release of 79-year-old peace campaigner Margaretta D’Arcy on humanitarian grounds.
The conference in Whites Hotel, Wexford, heard that D’Arcy, who is being treated for cancer, has been imprisoned for eight weeks for refusing to swear a bond that she will not trespass on Shannon Airport runway.
D’Arcy is an actor, playwright, author and a founding member of the artists association Aosdána. She is a veteran peace campaigner who in recent years has led protests against the use of Shannon Airport by the US military.
Proposing the emergency motion that Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter, move to release D’Arcy, SIPTU Campaigns and Equality Organiser, Ethel Buckley, described her as “a truly remarkable woman.”
“That a person who has always strove to highlight the best in humanity should be subjected to what she has described as amounting to a form of 'sensory deprivation' in the Irish prison system is a moral outrage,” she said.
“It is entirely appropriate that Justice Minister Alan Shatter should request that the Government instruct President Michael D Higgins to utilise the powers under Section 7 of the Criminal Procedure Act 1993 and pardon Margaretta and bring her ordeal to an end,” she added.
ICTU Women’s Committee Secretary, Margaret Browne, said: “Margaretta D’Arcy is an amazing woman and, at 79, she is still campaigning and standing up for the disadvantaged”
Following the conference’s unanimous endorsement of the motion, Ethel Buckley, said: “Conference has sent a strong message the continued imprisonment of this renowned feminist, artist and campaigner is completely unacceptable. Minster Shatter must take action now to set Margaretta free.”