Peace activists Dave Donnellan and Colm Roddy were back in Ennis District Court today (Sept 14th) as a result of charges arising from their peaceful peace action and attempt to search US military airctaft at Shannon Airport on May 25th. Here's a summary of the day's proceedings from our court reporter.
It was a long day for the two activists today in the Ennis courtroom. There was a massive list and the court sat right through the lunch hour. There were a few supporters too who shared the ordeal with the two activists, including a well known ShellToSea spokesperson who drove all the way from Mayo to show solidarity.
Dave was called first, eventually.
Inspector Tom Kennedy told Judge Durcan that the DPP had responded to the file sent by the gardaí and had chosen not to pursue a case in the circuit court. There were no new charges either.
Dave made an application to have the bail conditions varied. He argued that because the matter was a summary issue concerning an alleged act of criminal damage with an associated monetary value of around €200, that being barred from the whole of county Clare was "punitive" in the extreme. The judge put it to Inspector Kennedy that Dave had a "reasonable" argument. Inspector Kennedy, who on the last occasion had told the Court, that the gardaí would be "vigorously opposing" the application, if and when it arose, vigorously opposed the application by agreeing with the judge. The two defendants may now enter county Clare, but may not go within 5 miles of Shannon Warport.
Dave was given a number of VHS video cassettes and a massive folder by the inspector as part of the disclosure he had sought via correspondence with the officer.
At last Colm's case was called. Colm made his way to the top of the Court so that he might better hear Judge Durcan. Colm made an application for the details of personnel on the two American aircraft that had been present at the airport on the day the two activists were arrested. The judge denied the application, saying that he couldn't see how such information could aid Colm's defence. He said that if he were to grant such a thing that it would set a precedent whereby any defendant could seek the details of any motorist in a similar case.
The two intrepid activists are due back in court on November 16th where they'll be expected to enter a plea or look for a trial date.