Report on Symbolic Peaceful Action Against War at Shannon Airport and Court Hearing

Shannonwatch commend and support the action taken by peace activists Colm Roddy and Dave Donnellan at Shannon this week. There has been too much silence and tacit acceptance of the airport's complicity in war and torture, and not enough reflection on the devastating effect these acts of violence are having throughout the world. We need the complicity to end now. And we need conscientious people acting in whatever ways they can to make it end.

Here are some snippets from our reporting over the last few days. The national media did take note, and gave it some coverage (see links at the end). But we need more discussion about the issues it raises - breaches of international law, human rights and human dignity, imperialism, the root causes of the refugee crisis, militarization, neutrality, the values Irish people want to support and promote, and much, much more. And we need a change of policy from a government that is willing to let millions of people suffer and die instead of standing up for humanity and life.

We owe Dave and Colm a debt of gratitude for telling them that.

The Symbolic Action

On Wednesday May 24th 2016 at approximately 6am there was a faith based action at Shannon Airport by Dave Donnellan and Colm Roddy in response to Irelands continuing support of US wars conducted in the Middle East. They entered the airfield and sprayed the main runway with red crosses to represent all the innocent blood spilt by these wars. Two planes consecutively took off without them being detected until they reached a US military jet, located on the old runway 11 almost half a mile away, where they were arrested.

Dawn was just breaking so the light was not good for photos.

The jet was a US Air Force C-21, registration 84-0072. In addition there was another larger US military aircraft number 02-4452 (see separate article), which took off while Dave and Colm were close to the main runway, carrying a banner and an Irish flag, signifying Irish sovereignty being abuses by US military at Shannon. It seems amazing the Dave and Colm were not detected until they had crossed two runways and walked over half a mile waving the Irish flag.

As they walked passed the Irish Army patrol vehicle they were spotted by the soldiers who then alerted the Gardaí sitting in the nearby Garda Patrol car, and they then called the Airport Police who detained Dave and Colm. They were later transferred in to two Garda Patrol cars to Shannon Garda Station where presumably they are now being interrogated. Before Dave and Colm entered the air field, they said some prayers for peace, and for the victims of violence in the Middle East and for the suffering of refugees fleeing these wars being actively facilitated by the Irish Government, An Garda Siochana and the Shannon airport authority.

The Court Hearing

On Thurs May 26th at Gort District Court, Dave Donnellan and Colm Roddy appeared before Judge James Faughan on charges of criminal damage to the fence at Shannon Airport.

A few things marked the cases out from the others being heard.

1. All other cases were being handled by a Garda Inspector acting in the role of prosecutor. In the case of Mr. Donnellan and Mr. Roddy Supt McDonagh was representing the State.

2. Usually the arresting officer gives oral evidence of arrest charge and caution, which everyone in court hears. This would also include any statement made by the accused in reply to the charge. In this case, the Gardaí merely handed up a statement to the court clerk (which the Judge didn't read - in fact he asked what the case was about, and the Supt described it in the vaguest of terms as if somehow the state was embarrassed to speak plainly about Shannon's non civilian uses).

Having spoken to the defendants after their release, they confirmed that they had indeed made a reply to the charge where they denied criminality, and referred to the criminal actions of the state and US military in killing and maiming innocent people in large numbers.

The Supt, acting for the state, said that further charges may be pending and that they were awaiting instructions from the DPP.

He said that the state would ask for bail conditions to include a prohibition on entering Co. Clare other than on court related matters.

Mr. Roddy objected to this, but the judge paid no heed. Regular readers of court reports from anti-war actions will remember that Judge Mangan was quite fond of imposing such draconian bans, including on a certain Mr. Owen Rice, who challenged the ban, and had it overturned in a higher court, where the judge remarked that a ban on such a large section of the country could not be constitutional.

The case has been adjourned to Ennis District Court sitting on July 20th.

Further Note

Colm Roddy's iconic hat was removed from his head by Gardai at Shannon and is now being held by them as evidence for the forthcoming trial of himself and Dave Donnellan. Over the past 15 years Gardai at Shannon have failed to find any "concrete evidence" that over three million armed US troops who have passed through Shannon Airport have been involved in any crimes or breaches of Irish or international laws, or that the thousands of US military aircraft that have transited through and been refuelled at Shannon have been carrying any weapons, or munitions, or been engaged in any military operations or military exercises. Yet, having not arrested one single US soldier, and having not impounded one single item from the thousands of US military and CIA aircraft that have passed through Shannon Airport, they have arrested and charged Colm Roddy, and seized and impounded his hat.

The State really has lost sight of what matters.

 


Selection of media coverage:

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