Forgetting Remembrance at Shannon Airport

Taking soldiers to war - US troop carriers at Shannon, 11th Nov 2011

Let us remember, let us never forget, the stupidity of World War One in which the elite of the world ordered their mainly impoverished subjects to commit a form of mass suicide in the trenches of the Somme and Flanders under the spurious guise of “defending small nations”. Remembrance Day occurs on 11 November each year because the World War One armistice was signed “on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month 1918. In many countries it is now popular to celebrate this day with military jingoism as if we were celebrating freedom, bravery and all things good, forgetting the stupidity, destruction and gross human rights abuses involved in all wars.

Omni Air International troop carrier taxi towards runway at Shannon

Coincidentally, Ireland’s new President Michael D. Higgins was inaugurated on 11/11/2011. A member of Shannonwatch visited Shannon airport on this day, to check on the on-going abuse of Irish neutrality by US military forces, transiting through this supposedly civilian airport in a supposedly neutral state.  Just after 12 noon on 11/11/2011, as President Higgins was delivering his inaugural speech in Dublin Castle, there were three chartered OMNI Air International aircraft at Shannon transporting over 500 US troops through, to and from the wars and occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan.  In addition there was also a US military executive type jet at the airport with the tail registration number 0048.

With a population representing less that 0.066% of the world’s people, the Republic of Ireland can never be a military power and should never participate in external wars, except in the role of genuine peacemaker. The only substantial and credible role we can play in international affairs is an altruistic promoter of international peace and sustainable development. Positive neutrality is an essential tool towards achieving these objectives. Since October 2001, successive Irish governments have been in breach of international laws on neutrality by allowing over two million armed US military troops to transit through Shannon airport. Apart from these legal technicalities, it is likely that over one million people have died as a result of these wars of revenge and resource acquisition, and gross breaches of human rights have been perpetrated including torture. All of this is being facilitated at Shannon Airport on a daily basis, yet it got no mention in the speeches at our presidential inauguration.

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