| 0°C Dublin

Criminal damage charge Extinction Rebellion activist jailed for graffiti attack writes letters to supporters from prison

Orla Murphy and Zachery Lumley were arrested and charged with criminal damage at Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney's department building

Close

The graffiti being cleaned at the Department of Foreign Affairs building in Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney

The graffiti being cleaned at the Department of Foreign Affairs building in Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney

The graffiti being cleaned at the Department of Foreign Affairs building in Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney

Extinction Rebellion activist Orla Murphy, who was jailed for her part in a graffiti attack at the Department of Foreign Affairs, has written a series of prison letters that have been posted on Facebook.

In the letters, the 19-year-old from Co Cork describes her prison experiences and thanks people for their support.

Written on Extinction Rebellion head notes she also urges supporters to stand up to their fears and quotes Martin Luther King.

The former film student refused to sign a bail bond agreeing to several terms and she was remanded in custody after the incident at 1.20pm on Friday, March 19.

The court heard that the incident was filmed and live-streamed on the Extinction Rebellion Cork’s Facebook page.

In the video Orla can be seen throwing buckets of paint over the front facades of the building before spray painting messages and putting up signs saying, "no more empty promises".

The footage ends when two members of the department come out of Iveagh House and demand that she stops.

One says, “stop it, you’re defacing public property," to which a defiant Ms Murphy responds: "I am - and they’re defacing the planet."

In an introduction to the series of excerpts from her prison letters it is stated that on March 19 Irish climate activist Orla Murphy was arrested for spray painting “no more empty promises” on the facade of the Department of foreign affairs Dublin.

“Arrested two years after her first Fridays for Future school strike. Two years of waiting for the Government to take action against the biggest crisis we face in our lifetime.

“And now imprisoned since March, Orla is left to wait for her day in court. The following are excerpts from letters she's written from prison…”

Dated Wednesday, March 24, the first entry reads: “Hi guys, got all yere (SIC) messages today, thank you all so much. I'm doing good.

“I got moved to a different cell. Still in isolation but definitely an upgrade. Have a shower now. It’s so nice to wash all the different cells off me.

“I have a proper window now and an actual bed frame with a thicker mattress. Love and solidarity Orla.”

Sunday World Newsletter

Sign up for the latest news and updates

This field is required This field is required

Also dated Wednesday, March 24, she writes: “I break the days into chunks now that I know the meal times and it passes along ok.

“Most of the guards are nice and friendly. I keep going as long as I can. I appreciate all yere kind words and I hope some of you will take the challenge to really accept the reality of this situation and then act in a way you feel is proportionate.”

Close

The graffiti is removed from the Department of Foreign Affairs. (Photo: Steve Humphreys)

The graffiti is removed from the Department of Foreign Affairs. (Photo: Steve Humphreys)

The graffiti is removed from the Department of Foreign Affairs. (Photo: Steve Humphreys)

She also quotes from an “ MLK letter” that “so much resonated with me” and says she has “just moved out of isolation today and into the prison.

“The prison is divided into 2 yards. I'm in the big garden Phoenix House.

“This is meant to be the best one; which means there are no fighting and everyone is fairly social. It's a privileged house which usually you have to work your way up to. I’m the youngest in the house and everyone I’ve spoken to has kids. They tell me stories of the other houses, trying to ‘scare me straight’ in a motherly way. It's quite sweet really.”

On Thursday, April 1 she adds: “To those who call me a hero..Know that you can distance yourself from doing what is necessary. I’m not some superhuman. I have skills and my good points but so do YOU!! So find them and use them to do the actions that you have deemed heroic. Be your own hero.

“ I'll be there to help as much as I can when I get out, but in the meantime, really use this time to reflect. We know in our bones which is right and wrong.

“Courage is standing up to your fear, whether that be talking with people and being honest, or doing something as spicy as me, know that the base of all fear is one common belief…that you can can't handle it but you can’t handle it. But you can

Orla and 21-year-old Oxford University biology student Zachery Lumley, from South Lodge, Ballinlough, Cork, were arrested and charged with criminal damage at Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney's department building, Iveagh House, at St Stephen's Green, Dublin 2.

Posters were also stuck to columns. Repairs have commenced but gardaí were told they could end up costing €10,000.

Following the court hearing, supporters set up an online fundraiser.

The GoFundMe 'Help bail out environmental activists Zac & Orla' campaign aims to get €3,000 to allow the activists to take up bail.

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices

Online Editors


Top Videos





Privacy