The High Court has ordered that a 65-year-old Co Offaly woman be sent to prison over her refusal to allow the ESB and Eirgrid access to her land to complete a power line.

Teresa Treacy of Woodfield House, Clonmore, Tullamore, told Mr Justice Daniel Herbert this morning that she would not comply with previous High Court orders directing her to allow the ESB and Eirgrid on to the lands she owns with her sister, to complete the works.

Justice Herbert told Ms Treacy, who was not legally represented, that he admired her principles but did not admire what she was doing.

He said he was sorry but had no choice but to order her committal to prison.

The judge said this was a citizen setting herself against the Constitution of Ireland and against the courts.

If this was allowed, he said, we may as well sink into anarchy and he said he would not allow that.

He committed Ms Treacy to prison until she purges her contempt.

He told her it was up to her to decide how long she wanted to stay in prison.

"I'm sorry about this," he said, "but the law has to be upheld."

Ms Treacy was not committed to prison immediately as the order directing the gardaí to arrest her has not yet been drawn up.

In previous court hearings, the sisters expressed concern about damage to trees on their land and Ms Treacy said she would "gladly go to jail".

She said she wanted the ESB to put the line underground.

The ESB and Eirgrid say they are trying to complete a power line to improve the service to Tullamore.

They have planning permission and they say they have offered to plant new trees on the Treacys' land to make up for those that will be destroyed by the building of the power line.
Their barrister, Michael Conlon, said they were making the application to have Ms Treacy committed to prison with regret.

Outside court, Ms Treacy said she was "strong" and would "cope" with prison.