Refuelling War at Shannon Airport - Risky and Unethical Business

War business continues uninterrupted at Shannon Airport. Today (Dec 7th) we photogtaphed an Omni Air International Boeing 767 troop carrier, with registration N207AX, being refueled by TOP Oil and supplied with food by Zest!.

TOP (Tedcastle Oil Products) Oil is part of the Tedcastle Holdings Group. This is an Irish company owned by the Rehill family and comprising business interests in Ireland, the UK and North America.

Zest! is the retail division of EFG Inflight Ltd based at Knockbeg Point, Shannon Airport. They too are an independent, wholly owned Irish company, employing 120 staff.

The plane was being protected by the Irish police or Gárda Síochána, which for those of you not familiar with the Irish language literally means "Guardians of the Peace".

The consequences of unchecked military interventions around the world by the US have been devastating. And yet we have a situation at Shannon Airport where TOP Oil refuels their troop carriers, the Gardai protect them, and Zest! feeds the young men and women being sent off to war zones.

The willingness of the Shannon Airport Authority and local companies like Zest! and TOP Oil to profit from US military operations is short-sighted and fails to take into account the human costs of war. The agonising deaths resulting from bombing campaigns; the millions of people displaced from their homes; the reduction of entire states into ungovernable conflict zones; these are all ignored when making decisions to support military occupations and invasions.

Or perhaps they aren't ignored. Perhaps calculated decisions are made to accept jobs refuelling the warplanes irrespective of the consequences for others.

Either way its risky business. It makes Shannon Airport a target for those willing to engage in violent attacks on the imperialist US invaders.

The profits made by the small number of private companies that service the US troop carriers is also in start contrast to the financial cost of the US military use of Shannon Airport. As Shannonwatch research has shown, it has cost the Irish state €42 million to cover the air traffic control costs of foreign military aircraft using Irish-administered airspace between 2003 and 2015. This covers officially designated military aircraft and not troop carriers operating as civil aircraft. Most of the cost is associated with US planes en route to Europe and the war zones in the Middle East and southwest Asia.

In other words, the overall financial consequence of the US military presence of Shannon is that the Irish state looses significant amounts of revenue that could be used to generate far more ethical employment.

As the former Republican politician, Ron Paul (of all people) put it, "war is never economically beneficial except for those in position to profit from war expenditures". Large corporations benefit; as a case in point the US defence and technology company Lockheed Martin records annual net profits in the order of $3 billion alone as a result of US military involvement in the Middle East. Irish companies may not be making the same levels of obscene profit from war, but some are still prepared to pick up financial scraps on the periphery of the military industrial complex.

Its time to end this, and for companies to start showing some corporate responsibility.

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