A jury at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court has heard how five anti-war protestors used a pick axe and hammers to attack a US military plane at Shannon Airport in February 2003.

The five, two men and three women, have all pleaded not guilty to damaging the plane, and to damaging two glass door panels, the property of Aer Rianta.

The court also heard how the five knelt in a circle to pray beside the plane before they were arrested.

The jury was told they 'bypassed' a garda and allegedly caused criminal damage to the plane.

In the early hours of 3 February 2003, three women and two men are alleged to have entered a hangar at Shannon Airport 'quickly and noisily' and ran around a garda who was in the hangar.

It is alleged the group proceeded to beat the nose of the plane. The garda radioed for assistance and the five people were arrested.

The jury was told that the incident occurred at a time when 'tensions were in the air' regarding the use of Shannon Airport for particular purposes.

The five people on trial are Damien Moran, a student priest with the Holy Ghost Fathers in Dublin; Ciaran O'Reilly, an Australian working with homeless people and living on South Circular Road, Rialto; American Nuin Dunlop, a trained counsellor who lives in Dublin city centre; Karen Fallon, a Scottish marine biologist living on South Circular Road, Dublin; and Deirdre Clancy, a copy editor from Clontarf, Dublin.