General Election: Vote to End Political Support for Human Rights Abuse and Militarisation

The militarised agenda being pursued by Western powers has resulted in the basic human rights of millions of people in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere being ignored in favour of a global agenda of expansion and greed. Shannonwatch urges everyone to question the morality of Ireland's support for wars of conquest in the upcoming Irish general election, to consider the negative impact of a pro-military agenda on Ireland's own sustainability, and to vote for election candidates that will work to restore Ireland's commitment to peace and human rights

While it is understandable that the main focus of the upcoming general election in Ireland is the economy, it is nonetheless disappointing that all the main political parties and the media have ignored issues of foreign policy and human rights. Through ongoing participation in wars of occupation, unimpeded transit of munitions, and support for the so-called "war on terrorism" - all manifested by daily activities at Shannon Airport - Ireland's commitment to the promotion of peace, justice and friendly cooperation amongst nations has been eroded.

Shannonwatch has been concerned for many years about the routine use of Shannon Airport by the U.S. military. Hundreds of armed soldiers pass through every day on their way to and from Iraq and Afghanistan. Shannonwatch is also aware of munitions cargo, destined for locations all over the world, that have passed through Shannon. Neither of these is mentioned in mainstream public discourse, and as a result they remain largely hidden from the Irish people.

As the election draws closer, Shannonwatch supports Amnesty International's call to each of the main parties to commit to an independent investigation into the use of Irish airports and airspace by rendition planes. It also supports their call for improved legislation governing the identification, search and inspection of aircraft suspected of suspicious activities within six months of the next government taking office.

Amnesty recent press release on this issue sums up the appalling disregard for the rule of law by the last government quite well: 

"In 2004  the Government knew it was at risk of breaching legally binding treaties if it allowed planes involved in rendition circuits to use Shannon. Ministers repeatedly advised the Dáil that these flights were not illegal. In December 2005 , when asked about CIA planes using Shannon airport, the Minister for Foreign Affairs asked for evidence to be presented. AI submitted evidence that six planes used by the CIA for renditions had involved 50 landings at Shannon airport. The Minister continued to insist that there was not enough evidence to justify an enquiry. A subsequent wikileaks cable from 2007  reveals that Minister Dermot Ahern himself believed renditions flights had transited Shannon."

The flagrant disregard for human rights by Irish politicians, and their unwavering support for military expansionist policies, should not allowed to continue. Shannonwatch therefore urges a vote for candidates that will support an independent investigation into the use of Irish airports and airspace by suspected rendition aircraft, and will demand an end to the use of Shannon by the US military.

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