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Margaretta behind bars – at 79

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Galway’s most renowned protester has ended up behind bars at the age of 79 and suffering from Parkinson’s Disease after refusing to sign a bail bond.

Margaretta D’Arcy was arrested at Shannon Airport alongside Niall Farrell, 60, from Oranmore, both members of the Galway Alliance Against War, for trespassing on the runway in protest at the use by the US Military of the facility.

The court was told the pair had endangered lives in blocking two flights from landing at Shannon in October of 2012.

At her hearing at Ennis District Court last December, Margaretta attempted to make a citizen’s arrest on Judge Patrick Durcan, claiming he was complicit in supporting “criminal acts” at Shannon Airport and was making Irish people “active allies and participants in illegal wars”.

Both protesters received a three-month sentence, which was suspended on condition they sign a bond to uphold the law and keep away from unauthorised zones at Shannon.

Margaretta refused to sign the bond and on Wednesday she was arrested at her home in Woodquay and taken to Limerick Prison to serve the three-month sentence.

Her arrest has sparked criticism among fellow campaigners and Sinn Féin Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh, who is to raise her case with the Justice Minister Alan Shatter. 

“I have been in contact with the family and friends of Margaretta who are very concerned for her welfare. She is 79 years old, is quite frail and has an on-going serious health condition,” he said.

This is not the first time the actress, playwright and member of Áosdána has been jailed.

In 1979 she, together with eleven other women from the campaigners Women Against Imperialism, were arrested on International Woman’s Day outside Armagh Gaol for protesting about the inhumane conditions in which women republicans were imprisoned.

D’Arcy refused to pay her fine and on May 14, 1980, she was imprisoned for three months in Armagh Gaol where she joined the republican women in their No-Wash and Dirty Protests for political status.

Margaretta is currently undergoing treatment for cancer. Her husband, the playwright John Arden, died from cancer in 2012. President Michael D Higgins orated at the funeral.

 

For more on this story, see the Galway City Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Progress stalls on setting up Eating Disorder Community Health Team

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Despite an increasing number of young people experiencing eating disorders, a new specialist community team has yet to be set up in Galway well over a year after it was announced.

The delay is mainly due to a difficulty recruiting a consultant psychiatrist to lead the team, this week’s HSE West Regional Health Forum meeting was told.

Councillor John Connolly (FF) queried the progress on the new Eating Disorder Community Health Team within the Child Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) after the HSE revealed in September 2021 that it would be set up in response to the hike in youths presenting for treatment.

Chief Officer of HSE Community Healthcare West, Breda Crehan-Roche, said interviews had been conducted to recruit a clinical lead, but so far none had been appointed. Six other staff had been appointed and these had been assigned to existing teams within CAMHS while a psychiatrist could come on board to manage the team.

“We have difficulty getting locum cover. Interviews were held. It’s a priority. We are doing a running recruitment process,” she told this month’s meeting.

It took between six and nine months to appoint a person to such a senior post.

“There is a lot of work in specialist intervention in the eating disorders team.”

She admitted that there were no records of how much of an increase there had been in referrals to CAMHS Galway for youths troubled by an eating disorder as all records were on paper rather than on computer.

“I can’t ask clinicians and therapists to pull together manual figures,” she stated. But the indication from staff on the ground was that there had been a downward trend in referrals post-Covid.

There was a move to keeping digital records by the middle of next year.

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Connacht Tribune

Retired Bishop of Galway Martin Drennan dies aged 78

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Retired Bishop of Galway Martin Drennan has passed away at the age of 78.

Born in Kilkenny in 1944, Bishop Drennan studied for the priesthood at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth from where he was ordained in 1968

As a priest, the then Fr Drennan served as curate in both St. Mary’s Cathedral Parish in Kilkenny and then in Ballycallan.

From 1975 he taught Sacred Scripture at St. Kieran’s College, returning to Rome in 1980 to become Spiritual Director at the Irish College there for the next five years.

When Fr. Martin again returned home he became a Lecturer in Sacred Scripture at St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth where he continued to teach until his appointment as Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin in 1997.

Following the retirement of Bishop James McLoughlin, Bishop Drennan was chosen as Bishop of Galway and Kilmacduagh and Apostolic Administrator of Kilfenora and was installed on 3rd July 2005 in Galway Cathedral serving to his retirement in 2016.

A brief statement released by the Diocese of Galway this afternoon confirmed his passing and offered their sympathies to Bishop Drennan’s family and all those who mourn his loss.

Funeral arrangements for the late Bishop Drennan will be announced later

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Connacht Tribune

Gardaí appeal for help to locate missing man

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Gardaí are seeking help from the public in locating a 66-year-old man who has been missing from Clonbur since Thursday.

Michael Harte is described as being 5’ 9” in height, of slim build with short grey hair. When last seen, he was wearing blue jeans, a blue jumper, a tan / khaki padded jacket and tan boots.

He is understood to have access to a black Renault Megane with a 02 C registration.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Clifden Garda Station on 095 2250,  the Garda confidential line on 1800 666111 or any Garda station.

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