Ireland Wants United States Military Out of Shannon!

Concerns grow in Ireland over use of Shannon airport as US military stopover

· 330,000 US troops passed through airport in 2005
· State denies knowledge of CIA rendition flights

This story came out Saturday January 21 2006, however it is relevant today as you read this current news:

Dublin GPO 4pm-6pm Vigil – U.S. Military Out of Shannon!

Anti-War Vigil *GPO Monday August 25th. 4pm-6pm
“Stop Irish Participation in the War!”
“U.S. Military Out of Shannon & Iraq!”

Outside GPO, O’Connel St. Dublin

Come join Mairitn, Colim, Damien, Ciaron Steve & others at the vigil!
Drop by for a short time and get updated on the war on Iraq, Afghanistan & elsewhere!
Get updated on nonviolent resistance to war and war preparations in Ireland and elsewhere

This vigil is hosted by the Dublin Catholic Worker community.
You don’t have to be a “Catholic” or a “Worker” to participate in any CW projects or nonviolent resistance activities.
Our weekly vigils are focussed and inclusive, a nonviolent discipline and a tolerance for other people’s beliefs is basic to the vigil.

Now let’s get back to the older story so you can understand what is going on here!

Irish politicians and human rights activists are voicing growing concern at the US military’s use of Shannon airport after it emerged that an average of 900 soldiers a day passed through the commercial west coast airport last year.

Groups of American soldiers in desert fatigues sipping Coca-Cola in the departure lounge or browsing the duty-free shop on their way to and from Iraq are now a familiar sight at Ireland’s second-biggest airport. Government figures show that around 330,000 troops, more than double that of 2004, passed through the airport last year as military planes stopped and refuelled.

Peace campaigners say most soldiers being transported between the US and Iraq now pass through Ireland, making it the favoured European stopover and calling into question Ireland’s neutral status.

Until recently, many councilors on Ireland’s west coast stressed the economic benefit of the stopovers, which generated an estimated €37m (£25m) for the airport last year.

The former Labour mayor of Shannon, Gregg Duff, said those opposed to the presence of GIs had been accused of not caring about local jobs and endangering the US investment which fueled much of the Celtic Tiger economic boom. In one local radio debate, a Fianna Fáil party activist warned that US businesses would pull out of the west of Ireland if locals were seen as hostile to troops.

But amid new concerns that Shannon may have hosted CIA “rendition” flights carrying prisoners to countries where they could be tortured, local politicians have changed their tone. Town councilors, warning that the region’s reputation is being damaged, have unanimously approved a motion calling on the government to inspect US planes at the airport. Clare county council has seen wide support for a motion demanding that the Irish army inspect every CIA-chartered flight.

Fine Gael’s Martin Conway, who raised the motion at Clare county council, warned that Shannon’s international standing was at risk. “I would prefer to see US troops not use Shannon at all,” he said.

Brian Meaney, of the Green party, said: “You can’t allow an airport’s future to depend on selling sandwiches to soldiers. People have a notion of Irish neutrality, and they think it is being undermined and sold out.”

The Irish Human Rights Commission and the Council of Europe have called on the government to seek US agreement that every plane suspected of transporting prisoners will be inspected.

A spokesman from Dublin’s department of foreign affairs said the government strongly condemned torture and had received “explicit, unambiguous and unqualified” assurances from the US that no prisoners had been transported through Irish airports.

Six CIA-chartered planes have landed at Shannon 43 times over the past four years, according to the government. But Amnesty International believes the CIA landed 50 times at Shannon between September 2001 and 2005.

Last month, peace activist Cindy Sheehan visited Dublin demanding that the Irish government inspect CIA flights. She said her son stopped at Shannon on his way to Iraq and described the airport in his last unposted letter. The US academic Noam Chomsky this week told a Dublin audience that if Shannon was being used by the CIA to transport prisoners, Ireland would be participating in a war crime as defined by the Nuremberg tribunal. Such was the demand to hear him speak that 4,000 people were turned away.

Edward Horgan, a former Irish soldier who served with UN peacekeeping missions for 22 years before leading a campaign against US military use of Shannon, said up to 100 peace activists had been prosecuted in Ireland since 2002.

After two retrials, Mary Kelly, an Irish nurse, was found guilty of criminal damage for taking an axe to a plane at Shannon. She plans to appeal. Five protesters accused of damaging another US plane at Shannon are awaiting their third trial after the second collapsed when defense lawyers suggested that the judge had been invited to both George Bush’s presidential inaugurations and attended the first one in 2000.

Now back to the present and the latest news concerning this issue:

Labour Youth, Ógra Shinn Féin and the Young Greens today jointly
reiterate their call for a full and complete US military withdrawal
from Shannon airport and all Irish airports. Four years after the
start of the US led war in Iraq the death toll stands at hundreds of
thousands. The authority of the United Nations has been damaged, the
primacy of international law undermined and Iraq teeters on the brink
of civil war. The United States’ illegal war has proven as ill advised
as it has damaging to international relations and the Human Rights of
the Iraqi people.

The Irish government has facilitated that conflict through the
provision of military facilities and refueling services at Shannon.
Whilst this contribution is not instrumental, it has involved the
Republic in an illegal, unnecessary and unethical war, compromising
our neutrality and providing an endorsement for the war, instead of
joining other countries in condemning it is an affront to the concepts
of peace and democracy which lie at the heart of Irish society our
government has allowed to become complicit in aiding the criminal
actions of the US government.

Today Ógra Shinn Féin, Labour Youth and the Young Greens stand
together in calling on the Irish government to permanently deny access
to Irish air and port facilities to the United States military or any
other military force engaged in the illegal and ill advised conflict
in Iraq. We also call on our associated parties to live up to their
commitments on this issue and to maintain their dedication to Irish
neutrality, opposition to war and positive engagement with the
International community should they enter government.

We are also calling on the young people of Ireland to consider these
issues when casting their ballots in the upcoming general election and
to vote for candidates who support the policy of ending the use of
Irish airports by the U.S. military.

After two retrials, Mary Kelly, an Irish nurse, was found guilty of criminal damage for taking an axe to a plane at Shannon. She plans to appeal. Five protesters accused of damaging another US plane at Shannon are awaiting their third trial after the second collapsed when defense lawyers suggested that the judge had been invited to both George Bush’s presidential inaugurations and attended the first one in 2000.


This is just fucking crazy. Once again we see how our current President steps & spits on democracy, letting nothing get in the way for HIS war. I wonder how many other countries have been ruined or are in turmoil because of Bush. I wonder how many other countries are having their liberties and wishes cut short, or are being dragged in as innocent bystanders losing their neutrality because of one man’s revenge.

I support the Irish and their feelings. It’s funny while this nation’s President shouts for so much democracy he doesn’t care about those who have it, he doesn’t care about destroying theirs, or if they get feed up and protest they are prosecuted and thrown into jail. If it’s against his god damn war forget it, he could care less the laws or wishes he breaks of his own people or those of people abroad and their laws and wishes.

This folks shows you just one more reason our country stands the way it does today, why so many our angry at us, why we have lost our dignity and respect in this world. We talk about tyrants and how we can’t let them dictate how and what happens in the world, and yet the biggest TYRANT in this world is the President of the United States: George W. Bush.




~ by Digory Kirke on August 25, 2008.

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