Teresa Treacy, who was jailed for refusing to allow the ESB and Eirgrid on to her land to cut down trees, has been released from prison.

Lawyers for the ESB and Eirgrid made an application to the High Court this afternoon to have the order committing the 65-year-old Offaly woman to prison for contempt of court discharged.

Ms Treacy was jailed on 13 September for refusing to comply with orders of the High Court directing her to allow ESB and Eirgrid onto the land to allow the completion of an overhead power line.

Ms Treacy told the High Court again this afternoon that she would not purge her contempt by complying with the court orders.

However, Senior Counsel, Michael Conlon, for the ESB and Eirgrid, told the court they would welcome some "breathing space" and an opportunity to try to engage further with Ms Treacy and her family and solicitors with a view to resolving the matter.

Ms Justice Mary Laffoy said the "coerciveness" of the contempt order had been used up.

Ms Justice Laffoy said Ms Treacy had been in prison for 24 days and the punitive element of the order had been fulfilled.

She discharged the order and told Ms Treacy that she was free to go home.

Amid chaotic scenes outside, Ms Treacy said she was glad to be going home, but she said she was "not letting them through".

85% of trees have been felled

The court was told that 85% of the trees that the ESB and Eirgrid needed to cut down on the land had been felled.

Ms Treacy was jailed by Mr Justice Daniel Herbert after telling him that she would not comply with the High Court orders.

He said he admired her principles but did not admire what she was doing.

He said if he allowed a citizen to set herself against the Constitution and the courts "we may as well sink into anarchy".

Mr Conlon said works had begun on Ms Treacy's land the day after she was committed to prison.

But he said the works were suspended at the request of the Irish Farmers' Association and discussions began with the IFA and Ms Treacy's family.

He said that works recommenced on 27 September with the consent of Ms Treacy's brother and sister, but that protesters then arrived at the site in such numbers that it was impossible to continue the work.

A friend of Ms Treacy's, Niall Hartnett, said that he had arranged a solicitor for Ms Treacy and had given his number to the prison authorities in Mountjoy on Tuesday, but Ms Treacy had still not received the solicitor's number.

Mr Hartnett raised a number of issues relating to ESB and Eirgrid's right to enter the land and said that they intended to appeal the granting of the original injunction to the Supreme Court. He said they wanted Ms Treacy to have some space to get legal advice.

In a statement, ESB and Eirgrid said they had sought her release to facilitate an appropriate environment for further discussions to resolve matters around the construction of the line.

The companies said intensive efforts had been taking place with her family and the IFA to resolve the situation.

But they said her release would enable further dialogue with her and her family to reach a mutually agreeable solution.

ESB and Eirgrid said they remained committed to the completion of the project, which is critical to providing a safe, secure and reliable electricity system for the Midlands region.

They said they were very pleased that Ms Treacy was returning to her family after what had been a difficult time for them.