Margaretta D’Arcy: Justice Is Blind

Margaretta Darcy

Justice is blind, but is society?

I’m 29. White. Male. Healthy. Relatively financially comfortable and have plans to move to Canada soon through choice and not due to unemployment. So, all in all, it would be pretty stupid of me to get myself a criminal conviction before then.

Now, say I felt particularly strongly about a singular matter (and Lord knows I do about many) and, during my protesting of this matter, I trespassed onto a runway and I was arrested. Then, say, I received a suspended sentence – I’d consider myself pretty lucky, sign my bond and be done with it and avoid that airport and any breaking of the law for the two years as stated in my bail conditions.

Well, this option was open to one such citizen this week; Margaretta D’Arcy.  In the end, however, she chose not to sign her bond and was promptly arrested  and sent to prison as a result.

Now, you may ask, “What’s the big deal here?”.  Well, Ms. D’Arcy is 79 years old and suffers from Parkinson’s Disease.  The case has caused uproar this week, mostly because of her age and her illness.

But where does one draw the line?

If Ms. D’Arcy was a healthy, 29 year old, white male this story would barely have made a ripple.  So what’s so special about Ms. D’Arcy?


She is a citizen who broke the law and is being duly punished.  We must not differentiate the citizen who has rights and responsibilities from the person who has an illness or who is old.

Too often in this State people who are old or are ill are treated with kid gloves when it comes to issues surrounding their convictions for crimes that they have committed.  And, while this particular crime is relatively minor, it does not excuse the responsibilities that apply to Ms. D’Arcy.


[Image: Youtube]

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  1. Justin Morahan

    James would you have had the same uncharitable view of the non-violent protests of MLK, Gandhi and Jesus?
    You are silent on the crimes of the State against which Margaretta has been protesting. How about a jail term for our lawmakers who refuse to search war planes at Shannon airport?
    Shame on you.

    1. Doctor DooM

      Eh… Jesus kinda got punished for his crimes. They wrote a book about it, I think.

      Even if accept that Jesus is not a fictional character, he said this:

      “I came not to bring peace, but to bring a sword”.

      Doesn’t sound non violent to me.

      Anyway, I don’t really agree with sending someone to prison when clearly that could be so hugely detrimental to their health, there’s other options surely.

  2. Lauren Halligan
    Lauren Halligan

    IMO the crimes have nothing to do with it; she chose to go to prison. She was given every chance to avoid it. They weren’t taking away her right to protest peacefully- it’s perfectly legal to do so- but asking her to refrain from breaking the law for a while.
    Her age has nothing to do with it- we don’t take away accolades from people who are elderly, so why should we refuse to punish them based on the same reasoning?
    Ms. D’Arcy had every right to protest-but she is not above the law.

    1. Justin Morahan

      I agree that Margaretta’s age should have nothing to do with it – she has said so herself. She was sentenced to a term in prison and chose to go there rather than give an undertaking that she would never again repeat her worthy and selfless protest against corrupt and immoral practices by her Government.
      Do you agree with the moral and ethical rightness of her action?
      Speaking of accolades, in a better world she would be due one.

  3. Neil Markey

    I haven’t had time to look into this one but I do remember her from a few other bits and pieces in the past.

    I can’t get this nagging itch in my head to stop over it though, it just feels so wrong to imprison someone sick and elderly. I know people would point out I wouldn’t feel the same about other people and depending on the charge that’s true. But I’m a softie and that isn’t how law, especially round these parts, works.

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