Shannon Four to Appear in Ennis Court on Monday Sept 25th

On Mionday Sept 25th four peace activists will be before Ennis Circuit Court on charges related to peaceful protests at Shannon Airport. These Shannon Four include Colm Roddy, Dave Donnellan, Dan Dowling and Edward Horgan. Dave and Colm are both up on charges for allegedly causing alleged criminal damage at Shannon Airport on 25th May 2016, which is 16 months ago. They went into the airport to search a US military aircraft because they believed it was involved in unlawful wars and killings in the Middle East, and they also knew that The Gardaí at Shannon would not search or investigate it or any other US military or CIA aircraft at Shannon. Dan and Edward are both up on charges of allegedly writing graffiti on the right hand engine of a US warplane at Shannon Airport on 25 April 2017.

Tomorrow's date in court is once again just "for mention", but that does not mean there may not be some interesting issues discussed in court.  These "for mention" court appearances are now being used by the courts and prosecution in Co Clare as a form of punishment without trial, firstly to punish the peace activists unjustifiably in case as is likely the prosecution cases will fail.

An outrageous example of this is provided by details of cases taken by Gardaí at Shannon against Edward Horgan. So far, in addition to this present case, he has been before Ennis District Court in relation to 5 separate peace protests incidents.

The first was his attempted arrest of US president George W Bush at Shannon on 24 June 2004. The result of that trial was that he was found not guilty of the charges nade against him. The charges included the breach of the public order in a public place - an exclusion zone on the Shannon Estuary! The next case was in relation to incident on 23rd May 2007 when he was charged with allegedly allow a mechanically propelled vehicle "to remain in such a place so long as to cause or was likely to cause the traffic through such place to be obstructed". Again he was found not guilty. The third case was in relation to incident on 18th June 2008, when he went to Shannon Airport to investigate the arrival of a suspected CIA torture rendition aircraft N54PA. When he asked Airport Security and Gardaí to search and investigate this aircraft he was charged with interfering with security at Shannon airport, a very serious charge. The case collapsed and the result was once again, not guilty.

The next case against Edward Horgan was in relation to incident on 13th October 2013, when he was charged (spuriously) with "loitering in a public place in circumstances which gave rise to reasonable apprehension for the safety of persons or the safety of property or for the maintenance of the public peace". The court result - not guilty.

The final case was in relation to incident on 18th  April 2015 when he was charged with entering "a part of Shannon Airport to which persons were not for that time permitted". This incident occurred when he was about to board a flight to London, but saw four US Hercules C130 warplanes on Taxiway 11 and decided to attempt to search and investigate them. Again, he was found not guilty.

These five trials did not just involve five appearances in Ennis District Court. They involved almost 30 appearances in court by Edward Horgan.

This present case, is even more ridiculous in some ways. Dan Dowling and Edward Horgan have already had four court appearances since 25th April last. Tomorrow's appearance will be in the Circuit Court on a charge of alleged criminal damage, but they have also been informed that they will be back in District Court on December on a charge of trespass, in relation to the same incident. So they are now before two separate courts for the same incident - Ennis Circuit Court (and trial by jury) on the charge of criminal damage, and Ennis District Court on the charge of trespass.

As with the five previous cases these trials will also likely fail and result in not guilty verdicts.
Justice has been done in the results on the five cases against Edward Horgan outlined above, but not in the manner of the prosecution or the behavior of the Gardaí in all these cases.

However, all these cases are not about seeking justice for the peace activists involved (although that would be nice too!). The continuing involvement in these cases, and in continuing protests and whistleblowing at Shannon Airport is to seek some small element of justice for all the people being killed and suffering dreadful injuries in US led wars of aggression in the Middle East, including in particular all the innocent children who have died as a result of these wars.

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