*The protestors in Shannon Airport. 

SHANNON AIRPORT had to be closed for 35 minutes to air traffic on March 30th as a result of an alleged incursion into the runway area by three anti-war activists, a court has heard.

Det Sgt Kevin O’Hagan of Shannon Garda Station told Ennis District Court that it will be alleged that the three anti-war activists sat down on the ground near where aircraft were parked and had to be removed by a Garda.

In the case, the three are charged with interfering with the operation, management and safety of Shannon Airport by entering the runway area and causing the closure of the airport on March 30th contrary to Section 47 of the Air Navigation Act and Transport (Amendment) Act, 1998.

The three, Emer Walshe (32) of Fernhill, North Circular Rd, Limerick; Aine Ni Threinir (33) of Cuirt Na Tra, Salthill, Galway and Aindriu De Buitleir – 28 on Friday of Til Na Nog, Bothar An Tismein, An Cheathru Run, Gaillimhe were charged with trespass at the West Apron at Shannon Airport.

The three – including two members of the Galway Palestine Solidarity Campaign (GPSC) – were protesting at the US military use of Shannon airport.

On the new ‘airport closure’ charge, Garda Kevin Hynes said that the three made no reply after caution before court. Sgt John Burke told the court that the new charge against the three is in addition to the trespass charge.

Det O’Hagan said that the alleged incursion resulted in the airport having to be closed for 35 minutes.

He said that a scheduled Ryanair flight due to take off had to stopped from doing so as the three were in the vicinity.

Judge Alec Gabbett asked about the costs to the airport from the shutdown and Det O’Hagan said that airport authorities were not able to quantify costs of the closure. Det O’Hagan said, “They can’t provide a quantifiable cost.”

Det Sgt O’Hagan said that at the time of the alleged incursion “it will be alleged that the three accused walked in an area that is not traversed at all by people”.

Det O’Hagan said that after authorities became aware of the alleged incursion, there was a mayday landing and an aircraft with engine trouble had to come to land, which is completed.

Solicitor for the three, Tara Godfrey said that Mr De Buitleir wanted to tell the court why he did what he did on the day.

Judge Gabbett said that he would decide next week if he would accept jurisdiction in the case or send the case to the circuit court where a Book of Evidence would be required.

Judge Gabbett said that he would giving his ruling on jurisdiction on July 10th and told Mr De Buitleir he could speak in court on that date.

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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