Controversial Galway peace activist Niall Farrell, currently serving a gaol term in Limerick Prison, is in solitary confinement and there are allegations he is being refused visits.
Mr Farrell is in 24 hours lockup and is also without clothes. He is refusing to wear prison uniform and istead demanding to be recognised as a political prisoner.
Furthermore, it is understood the Belfast born, Galway resident, is not being allowed visits. Independent Left wing TD Clare Daly and Sinn Féin Midlands North-West MEP Matt Carthy were due to visit Mr Farrell tomorrow, but this will now not be going ahead.
The prison administration has informed both Dep Daly and MEP Carthy that Mr Farrell does not wish to see them. However the Galway Advertiser understands from very reliable and close sources that the visits are actually being disallowed owing to Mr Farrell’s refusal to wear prison uniform. As a result he is not wearing clothes and cannot go to the public visiting area.
Mr Farrell was arrested last Friday for refusing to pay a fine or sign a peace bond imposed by Ennis District Court, after having been found guilty, along with Margaretta D’Arcy, of having “interfered with the proper use” of Shannon Airport, following a protest the two carried out on the runway last September.
Ahead of his arrest, Mr Farrell wrote to the Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald, demanding he be treated as a political prisoner.
“By sending me to Limerick Prison to serve this sentence the Irish State is attempting to criminalise my peaceful political actions,” he wrote. “I cannot and will not accept this. I demand the right to be treated as a political prisoner and if I am not, I will not conform while in jail.”
Mr Farrell is the PRO of the Galway Alliance Against War, which issued a statement about his incarceration.
“Exactly 100 years ago Britain – and therefore Ireland – entered the First World War,” the statement read. “On this very day Ireland is holding prisoner Niall Farrell of the Galway Alliance Against War for a peaceful protest at Shannon Airport to highlight the involvement of the Irish State in US wars in the Middle East and elsewhere.”
The statement went on to say that Mr Farrell’s protest was “a supremely political statement”, in line with the Nuremberg War Trial principle of the individual’s “duty to oppose crimes against humanity, even if this means acting in conflict with national laws”.