In answer to recent parliamentary questions from Clare Daly TD the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade gave some sparse details of the foreign military traffic that passes through Ireland. Any of these that are engaged in war-related activities are of course is in breach of Irish neutrality.
The main piece of information obtained from the Minister were that in 2016 there were 645 requests for military landings at Shannon. 592 - thats 92% - were from the US. We don't know exactly how many of them were refused permission, but we do know from our own monitoring records that most of them landed.
The other important information received is that there are quite a few foreign military landings at other Irish airports - 101 of them in 2016 to be exact.
Requests for Military Landings at Shannon Airport
During 2016, there were 645 requests for landings by military aircraft at Shannon Airport. These were from 11 different countries. The details are set out in the table below:
The Minister's accompanied his response with the usual very unlikely claim that "arrangements under which permission is granted for foreign military aircraft to land at Irish airports are governed by strict conditions. These include stipulations that the aircraft must be unarmed, carry no arms, ammunition or explosives and must not engage in intelligence gathering, and that the flights in question must not form part of military exercises or operations."
Requests for Military Landings at Other Irish Airports
During 2016, there were 101 requests for landings by military aircraft at airports other than Shannon Airport from 17 countries. Almost all of these are NATO countries.
The details are set out in the table below:
The Minister also said that iaddition to the above requests, his Department also received one military aircraft landing request from the British Embassy in connection with a VIP visit at Donegal Four Masters GAA grounds during May 2016.
And of course he said again that arrangements under which permission is granted for foreign military aircraft to land at Irish airports are governed by strict conditions etc. etc.
Has anyone EVER inspected one of the military aircraft to see if those conditions are complied with?
As far as we know, the answer is NO.