To coincide with US President Donald Trump's visit to Ireland, protests will be held at Shannon Airport starting at 3pm on June 5th. The US President is expected to land at Shannon that day, to fly out and back again on June 6th, and to leave on June 7th. A Peace Camp will be set up outside the airport for the duration of his visit, including overnight on the 5th and 6th June, and people are invited to spend whatever time they can there in order to maintain an ongoing protest against his presence in Ireland.
by Mike Ferner
May 24, 2019
Can a pair of U.S. military veterans and the Irish peace movement topple a key outpost of the American Empire entrenched on the Emerald Isle?
That's the question a new mini-documentary explores about former Marine Ken Mayers and former Army paratrooper, Tarak Kauff as they begin a third month of activist exile in Ireland following a peaceful act of civil disobedience at Shannon Airport on St. Patrick's Day, walking onto the airfield with a banner that said, "Respect Irish Neutrality. U.S. War Machine Out of Shannon Airport."
Effectively using photos and film accounts of troop planes arriving and departing, as well as images of Ireland's "Easter Rising," the Action from Ireland production, "War Crimes Facilitated At Shannon Airport" lets the words of three veterans and Clare Daly an Irish Member of Parliament provide the narration. They explain how the U.S. military quietly turned the civilian airport into a major hub for troops and weapons en route to wars in the Middle East. Some three million troops have passed through Shannon since the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003.
On the evening of Thursday, May 30th, as a Shannonwatch member drove toward Shannon Airport he was overtaken by a Garda patrol car that then pulled off the road near Bunratty and proceeded to follow him all the way to Shannon. As he drove into the Shannon Industrial Estate the Shannonwatch peace activist saw a large US Air Force transport aircraft at the airport, so he pulled in to take a photograph of it. He got out of his car and was getting his camera when the Garda car that had followed him stopped behind him. A Garda got out and asked for his drivers licence which the Shannonwatch member produced. He asked the Garda if it was an authorised road traffic checkpoint, and if so who had authorised it. The Garda simply said he was authorised by the Constitution to demand the driving licence!
The Shannonwatch member then pointed out the US Air Force C17 military aircraft and requested that the Gardai search and investigate it. The Garda responded twice that this was way beyond his level of pay. The Shannonwatch member then asked the Garda to contact his superiors and take steps to have the aircraft searched and investigated. He gave no indication that he intended to comply with the request.
At our Shannonwatch peace vigil today we displayed a beautiful banner produced by IPSC with artwork in memory of some of the Palestinian children who have been killed in Gaza. It was an appropriate banner, given all the children killed by wars facilitated by Shannon Airport.
The following letter from Shannonwatch's Edward Horgan was published in today's Irish Independent.
The appalling situation in Yemen is getting worse. According to the United Nations 10,000 people - two-thirds of them civilians, including thousands of children, have been killed and 55,000 injured.
On 9th August a bus carrying children to a summer school was hit by a Saudi air strike in the town of Dahyan in northern Yemen. At least 47 civilians including 29 children, all under 15 years of age, were killed. Col Turki al-Malki spokesman for the US backed Saudi dominated coalition said the attack was "a legitimate military action, conducted in conformity with international humanitarian law".
At Shannon Airport at 3.30 pm this evening a US warplane was being refuelled and seemed to be getting some repairs done. All part of Ireland's participation in totally unjustified wars in the Middle East.
It comes as little surprise that the latest financial report for Shannon Airport makes no mention of the US military use of the facility. The report tells us that the overall number of passengers in 2017 was 1,751 million, which means that the official number of US troop that passed through the airport, 60,968, represents 3.5% of its overall passenger business. But the company running one of the country's main airports couldn't possibly mention this massive ongoing breach of Irish neutrality.
Shannon Airport is one of the business units of the Shannon Group. This is a commercial semi-state company established in September 2014. The other business units are Shannon Heritage, the International Aviation Services Centre (IASC) and Shannon Commercial Enterprises DAC, trading as Shannon Commercial Properties. Together they are "focused on delivering economic benefits for the West of Ireland and the wider national economy" (from the Shannon Group website).
ere is the court report from June 29th at Ennis Circuit Court, where Judge Gerald Keys ruled that the cases of Colm Roddy, Dave Donnellan, Dan Dowling and Edward Horgan should be transferred from Ennis Circuit Court to Dublin Circuit court. This means a trial by jury in Dublin. We have no doubt but that all these cases will eventually be dismissed, as they should be, either on grounds of justification of for technical legal reasons.
This US air force Hercules C130 warplane was at Shannon Airport tonight, July 2nd, being protected by a combination of a Garda security team, Shannon Airport security, and an Irish Defence Forces security team.
On June 28th we were sent a photograph of three US soldiers, in uniform, outside the Topaz/Re-Store store in Shannon. We published the photograph on our Facebook page, and it prompted quite a reaction from the public.
The Defence Act 1954 prohibits the wearing of a foreign military uniform in the State without ministerial permission. Permission was granted in 2003 by then Minister for Foreign Affairs Brian Cowen to allow US military personnel to wear their uniforms in the transit areas of Irish airports, including Shannon Airport, but not outside the airport. We therefore wanted to know if these soldiers had been granted permission by the Minister for Defence, or if they were in fact in breach of the Defence Act.
On July 5th Clare Daly TD asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if the soldiers had been authorised to wear military combat uniforms where they had been photographed. She also asked him to outline his plans to address the issue of foreign military personnel wearing uniforms on streets, if they had not been granted permission.