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"Can I have my rope ladder back?," Mick Wallace asks judge in Shannon case

Mick Wallace and Clare Daly are in court over their alleged illegal entrance into Shannon Airport last year.

Mick Wallace and Clare Daly arrive at Ennis District Court today
Mick Wallace and Clare Daly arrive at Ennis District Court today
Image: Niall Carson/PA Wire

INDEPENDENT TD MICK Wallace today asked a district court judge ‘Can I have my rope ladder back?’

Dressed in his trademark pink shirt, Wallace made the request at Ennis District Court after the rope ladder used by Clare Daly TD and the Wexford deputy to scale the perimeter fence at Shannon Airport last July was presented in evidence.

In reply, Judge Patrick Durcan said that he wouldn’t deal with the request now and Mr Wallace could ask for it again later in the day.

Wallace (59) of Clontarf Rd, Clontarf, Dublin and Clare Daly (46) of Elmwood Drive, Swords, Dublin appeared in court today concerning their alleged illegal entrance into a restricted area of Shannon Airport on 22 July last year.

During proceedings, the judge warned that he doesn’t wish his court to take on the role of the Skibbereen Eagle – a now defunct newspaper which is best known for an 1898 editorial where it warned that it would keep its eye on the Emperor of Russia.

The judge made the comment after solicitor for Wallace and Daly, Gareth Noble, said that the two were at Shannon last July after the Irish Government had failed their requests to search military planes at Shannon.

Judge Durcan told Mr Noble that he didn’t want his court to embark on a trawl or trail of issues that are totally irrelevant to the case.

Ennis District Court case Source: Niall Carson

In his expert evidence on behalf of the two, security analyst Dr Tom Clonan said that 2.25 million US troops have passed through Shannon since 2002 making it the largest invading force to have ever passed through Ireland.

Clonan said that Shannon is a virtual forward airbase of the US military and is an essential fulcrum in its logistics operations.

Clonan agreed with Noble that if the shoe was on the other foot, Shannon would be a target for the US.

Police evidence

Earlier, CCTV footage was 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 Wallace and Daly inside the perimeter fence on 22 July, Wallace requested the assistance of the Irish army to inspect a US military plane nearby.

Two US military planes were parked on the runway nearby.

Wallace told the court that the reason that they entered the airport airfield was to search the military planes, because they were not being searched by the Irish authorities.

Sgt Donal O’Rourke told the court that on meeting with the two, he was told by 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 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.

APO Declan Vaughan told the court that all US military aircraft at Shannon airport receive the protection of the Irish army.

The State is to call six witness and the two deputies are to call five witnesses.

Those in court to support the two deputies include Margaretta D’Arcy who has already served two periods in jail – one lasting three months – after refusing to sign a bond that she not enter restricted zones at Shannon.

Former UN Assistant Secretary General, Denis Halliday is also in court.

The case continues.

Read: Mick Wallace will be representing himself in court today > 

Read: Mick Wallace and Clare Daly released after being arrested at Shannon Airport > 

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About the author:

Gordon Deegan

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