herald

Wednesday 13 December 2017

'Can I have my rope ladder back?' TD Mick Wallace asks judge

Independent TDs Mick Wallace and Clare Daly arrive at Ennis District Court
Independent TDs Mick Wallace and Clare Daly arrive at Ennis District Court

MICK Wallace asked a judge if he could have his rope ladder back at a court hearing over his alleged illegal entry to Shannon Airport last year.

Mr Wallace (59) and fellow TD Clare Daly (46) appeared at Ennis District Court yesterday over allegations that they unlawfully entered a restricted area of the Co Clare airport.

Representing himself, Mr Wallace told the court that the reason that they entered the airport's airfield was to search for US military planes, because they were not being searched by the Irish authorities.

After gardai presented the rope ladder that Deputy Daly and Deputy Wallace used to scale the airport fence in evidence yesterday, Deputy Wallace asked Judge Patrick Durcan: "Can I have my rope ladder back?"

Judge Durcan replied that the issue could be dealt later in the case.

Earlier, CCTV footage had been shown to the court of the two standing on a grass verge located inside the airfield and involved in conversation with airport police.

Airport Police Officer (APO), Declan Vaughan told the court that when he came across Deputy Wallace and Deputy Daly inside the perimeter fence on July 22 last, Deputy Wallace requested the assistance of the Irish Army to inspect a US military plane nearby.

Two US military planes were parked on the runway.

Sgt Donal O'Rourke told the court that on meeting with the two, he was told by Deputy Wallace that they "entered the airport in order to make a political statement regarding the use of Shannon Airport for military purposes and to bring it to the attention of the minister because the minister is not listening".

Sgt O'Rourke said that Deputy Daly sustained a cut to her lip and her two fingers when coming over the airport perimeter fence. He said that she declined any medical assistance offered.

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In his evidence on behalf of the two accused, security analyst Dr Tom Clonan said that the US military cannot project military power in the global war on terror without the use of Shannon Airport as it is currently configured.

He told the court that "if Shannon was being used by any other group to cause the type of damage that the 2.25 million US troops that have passed through Shannon have caused, then the US would rightly identify it as a target".

Dr Clonan said that "Irish citizens are perceived now as a hostile party by Islamic resistance groups".

Deputy Wallace and Deputy Daly have yet to give evidence and Judge Durcan adjourned the case until March 10.

hnews@herald.ie

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