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West peace activist set for prison

By Anthony Neeson

A West Belfast peace activist is to be arrested this Friday on his return from abroad and imprisoned in Limerick prison.
Niall Farrell of the Galway Alliance Against War was involved in a peace protest with fellow activist Margaretta D’Arcy last September on the runway at Shannon airport.
In June they 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 September 1 last year as it appeared a US war against Syria was imminent. The two peace activists were involved in a similar action on October 7, 2012, the eleventh anniversary of the US war in 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, who lives in Galway and is the brother of Mairead Farrell, one of three West Belfast IRA Volunteers shot dead by the SAS in Gibraltar in March 1988. His daughter, also Mairead, was elected a Sinn Féin councillor in Galway in May. He has agreed to surrender himself in the proximity of the Liam Mellows statue on Eyre Square, tomorrow, Friday, at 1.30pm.
In response to this development the Galway Alliance Against War intends to hold a 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 First World War – that so-called war to end all wars”.
Niall Farrell said: “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.”
Niall said that 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.
“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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