Foreign Affairs Refuse to Reveal Details of US Military Use of Shannon

Shannonwatch are gravely concerned by the ongoing refusal of the Department of Foreign Affairs to provide access to information about US military flights through Shannon.  Citing "the creation and maintenance of trust and confidence between governments" the department have said they will not provide records requested under freedom of information (FOI) because it would hamper the international relations of the State.

"It's impossible to see how making aircraft details public could affect our relations with the US, or any other state, if what they tell us about the planes not being engaged in military operations is true" said Clare Daly TD who made the FOI requests. "Since Ireland claims to be a neutral State we should not be allowing foreign military within our territory on the scale that is happening today. And we should certainly not be doing it without informing the Irish people of the details."

More Lies and Cover-Up About what is Going On at Shannon

On a number of occasions the Minister for Foreign Affairs has told us (and the rest of Ireland) that most requests for foreign military aircraft to use the landing facilities at Shannon Airport concern aircraft refueling, as well as crew and passenger rest. Allmost all of these landinga are by US military planes of course. He has also said that some of these US military landings relate to the transport of dignitaries, flight crew training, aircrafy maintenance - and airport familiarization.

Like us, Clare Daly TD was curious about why it is necessary for the US military to engage in airport familiarisation in a small airport in the west of Ireland, given that the US has thousands of airports of its own adequate to such a task. Here's what the Minister said in reply to a parliamentary question from Clare on the matter (PQ 24502/16 answered 16 Sept 2016):

Another Long Day in Court for Peace Activists Dave Donnellan and Colm Roddy

Peace activists Dave Donnellan and Colm Roddy were back in Ennis District Court today (Sept 14th) as a result of charges arising from their peaceful peace action and attempt to search US military airctaft at Shannon Airport on May 25th. Here's a summary of the day's proceedings from our court reporter.

It was a long day for the two activists today in the Ennis courtroom. There was a massive list and the court sat right through the lunch hour. There were a few supporters too who shared the ordeal with the two activists, including a well known ShellToSea spokesperson who drove all the way from Mayo to show solidarity.

Dave was called first, eventually.

Inspector Tom Kennedy told Judge Durcan that the DPP had responded to the file sent by the gardaí and had chosen not to pursue a case in the circuit court. There were no new charges either.

Ex SAS Soldier and Veterans For Peace Activist Ben Griffin Speaking in Galway, Sept 9th 2016

On September 9th, ex-SAS Soldier and Veterans For Peace activist Ben Griffin spoke at an event organised by Galway Alliance Against War. Among other things he talked about the brutal scenes he witnessed in Iraq that led to him leaving the army and speaking out against war.

Ben was brought up in a military family, joined the army cadets at 13 and became a soldier at 19. He served in Northern Ireland, Macedonia, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Fifteen Years of Direct Action at Shannon

Since the shameful handover of Shannon Airport to the US military in 2002, a small number of peace activists have taken it upon themselves to take direct action to highlight the criminality of what is going on there. The latest two actiwists to take action, Colm Roddy and Dave Donnellan, will appear in Ennis court on Sept 14th. This is not a full hearing but we nonetheless call on as many supporters as possible to get there to support them.  

Direct action comes at a personal cost for those who act. But because it is a physical act, it often speaks louder and deeper than anything activists might say or write. In effect, the action itself tells the story.

The list below provides a timely reminder of some of the direct action events at Shannon over the years. Thanks to a long-time friend and supporter of direct action and anti-war activism for compiling the list.

International Day of Peace Wed 21 September 2016 - Invitation to Peace Vigil in Dublin

From Veterans for Peace Ireland

Here are some extracts from the UN's website for this international day of peace.

Each year the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on 21 September. The General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.

The Day's theme for 2016 is "The Sustainable Development Goals: Building Blocks for Peace.

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals were unanimously adopted by the 193 Member States of the United Nations ... in September 2015. ... It aims to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all.

The Sustainable Development Goals are integral to achieving peace in our time, as development and peace are interdependent and mutually reinforcing.