Irish Police refuse to search US Warplanes at Shannon

Garda Sergeant in Charge at Shannon airport asked Edward Horgan to produce evidence that the US Hercules warplane at Shannon was carrying dangerous munitions or war-criminals. When Edward Horgan attempted to go towards the airport to get such evidence he was prevented from doing so by Gardai.

Meanwhile about 1000 US troops and an unknown quantity of munitions may have passed through Shannon during the day.

And in Afghanistan, people died because of the US-led war of occupation assisted by some Irish Army soldiers.

The monthly peace vigil at Shannon airport began a little early this remembrance Sunday 14 November 2010. Some early-dove peace activists observed an OMNI Air planeload of US troops at the airport and one Hercules C 130 warplane. With some time to spare we drove up to the airport, and were waved through the combined Garda/Airport Police not-so-high-security checkpoint. We took some photos of the warplanes, and since we had the vigil banners in the car, we decided to do an impromptu vigil at the terminal building, including walking through the arrivals and departures areas with our US TROOPS OUT OF SHANNON banner. The response from Gardai and Airport security was rather subdued. We retired to the Park Inn hotel for a cup of coffee, and had the comfort of a Garda escort throughout.

We had a total of eleven peace activists at our vigil at the roundabout, from Galway, Dublin, Clare and Limerick, and as usual we were outnumbered by Gardai. Towards the end of the vigil, we approached the Garda security barriers, hastily erected after we had earlier came back out from the airport. I asked Garda Sergeant Noel McMahon, the Garda in charge, to search the US military Hercules aircraft that was present at the airport, in case it was carrying unauthorised munitions such as depleted uranium, or US soldiers who were guilty of war crimes. He informed me that he could not do so unless I produced evidence to justify such a search. He said that if I produced such evidence he would consider the matter. I informed him that it was the job of the Gardai to investigate potential crimes and collect evidence and again asked him to search the US warplane to collect such evidence. He said the Gardai would not do so. I then informed him that I would then go and get some evidence, and attempted to walk towards the airport but was prevented from doing so by Gardai. I told Sgt McMahon that he was contradicting himself, by asking me first to get evidence and then preventing me from getting it. I informed him that I would try and get such evidence in the future. I also reminded him that on 24 June 2004, when I had requested the Gardai at Shannon to arrest war criminal George W Bush when he visited Shannon airport, they had refused to do so, and this individual had subsequently admitted that he authorised the torture of prisoners at Guantanamo and elsewhere. Garda Sergeant McMahon refused to comment further and asked me to make a written request to have the aircraft searched if I wished to do so, and this would be passed up to his superiors.

I subsequently went to Shannon Garda station at about 15.30 pm, and made a verbal request to Garda Clear to have the Hercules aircraft searched. She then discussed the matter with her superior the Station Sergeant and returned to say that my request to have the aircraft searched had been refused.

At least four OMNI Air plane loads of US troops have passed through Shannon in the past 24 yours. Their registration numbers were N603AX, N378AX, N720AX, N270AX. That’s probably over 1000 US troops in one day.

Over the past 48 hours three Hercules C 130 warplanes have also been at Shannon, registration numbers 72-1289, 16-5161, 82-0056. That probably represents a very substantial amount of military cargo and possibly US special forces. We don’t know who these soldiers were or what military cargo or munitions were on those warplanes. Does anyone care any more? It is clear that the Gardai at Shannon do not care now, and have not cared much for the past nine years.

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