Eamon Gilmore Misleads the Dail and the Irish People

The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs & Trade Eamon Gilmore made a number of misleading statements to the Dail today (23 January 2012) in response to questions by Mick Wallace TD. We would like to correct these statements.

Mr Gilmore stated: "There are no plans to change the arrangements for the overflight and landing of US military aircraft, which have been continuously in place under successive Governments for over 50 years."

This is incorrect. US military aircraft were allowed to refuel at Shannon over the past 50 years, but only if they were strictly unarmed, not carrying any munitions, not engaged in any war or even engaged in military training exercises. This was clearly established in Horgan v Ireland in the High Court on 28 April 2003.

Mr Gilmore stated: "This State is in no way complicit in providing comfort for torture, rendition or other actions which breach the human rights of anybody … If specific allegations are made in this regard they will be investigated

This is also incorrect. Shannonwatch have provided to the Gardai a large amount of specific evidence, information, and lots of "specific allegations", as well as hundreds of requests to search specific US military and CIA associated aircraft at Shannon. No such aircraft have been searched by Gardai, as far as we know, and no credible investigations have been carried out by Gardai into these matters.

Mr Gilmore stated: "… the Deputy can be assured that the use of our airspace and airports will comply with international law. There is no question of any doubt about that."

There are very serious doubts about this statement by Mr Gilmore. Judge Kearns in Horgan v Ireland ruled 28 April 2003 that the Irish Government was in breach of international laws on neutrality by allowing armed US troops to transit through Shannon airport on their way to war in Iraq. There is also evidence that Ireland has been in breach of other international laws such as the UN Convention Against Torture by allowing CIA aircraft associated with rendition flights to refuel at Shannon, as reported on by the European Parliament TDIP Committee, Council of Europe, the UN, Amnesty International and others.

Furthermore EU foreign ministers including Mr Gilmore, today imposed further economic sanctions and an oil embargo on Iran. This could spark off a war between Western powers and Iran. If this happens, will Mr Gilmore allow armed US troops to transit through Shannon airport to the war against Iran, in breach of international laws on neutrality? If he did, such a war would almost certainly be in breach of the UN Charter since Russia and China will veto any UN Security Council approval for an attack on Iran.

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