herald

Friday 17 August 2018

Stars back OAP jailed over fight to keep out ESB

IRISH celebrities have expressed their support for an elderly woman who was jailed after she refused to allow ESB workers on her property.

Teresa Treacy has now spent 16 days behind bars since she was jailed for contempt of court.

Clinic star Rachel Pilkington and broadcaster Ray D'Arcy have both publicly backed the 65-year-old woman, who has refused for the past six years for ESB and Eirgrid to erect power lines on her grounds.

Ms Pilkington explained in an email why she attended a vigil at Mountjoy prison yesterday for Miss Treacy.



Refuge

"She genuinely believed her rights were being violated," the actress wrote.

"She cultivated that land with her own two hands, for her home, a sanctuary, a last refuge in a material world."

Ms Pilkington compared the forest on Miss Treacy's property in Clonmore, Tullamore, Co Offaly, to a beloved relation.

"Miss Treacy never had any children of her own, she spent her time nurturing her land while mothers up and down the country brought their children up," she added. "Many people can't understand how someone can care that much for nature. But she created a sanctuary for wildlife.

"If we lived in any kind of democracy Teresa would be walking freely in her woods with her sister Mary today."

She also said that Miss Treacy had shown "tremendous amount of courage to sit in a jail cell".

Meanwhile, Today FM's Ray D'Arcy said on his show that Miss Treacy's "circumstances" should be taken in consideration as she has now spent 16 days in jail.

"It does seem daft that a 65-year-old woman is in jail for the past 15 days.

"They should have another look at her individual circumstances."

Miss Treacey thanked people who have shown up on her property to prevent workers from accessing the land on Monday for their help.

She said: "Thanks to my supporters from the bottom of my heart.

"Only for them I wouldn't be able to do anything,"

However, ESB workers started felling trees yesterday -- approximately 1,800 are believed to have already been cut.

Dozens of protesters are expected to go to Tullamore today to plant ash trees that were given by anonymous donors to replace the ones that were cut down yesterday.

A Facebook support site claims that more than 1,000 signatures have been collected so far petitioning for Miss Treacy's release.

Meanwhile, the ESB is sponsoring Positive Ageing this week.

"Positive ageing is the term that we have chosen to encapsulate all we are trying to do to make Ireland the best place in which to grow old.

"It means a society in which people of all ages enjoy the same status and rights," a statement on the electricity company's website reads.

hnews@herald.ie

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