On Friday last (November 4th) a Dutch Navy submarine, the HNLMS Bruinvis, arrived in the Port of Cork. The 68m Walrus class submarine which has an armament of around 40 torpedoes made it's way through Cork harbour, right up into the city, and on Saturday was tied up at Horgan's Quay. Shannonwatch joined local peace activists who came out to peacefully demonstrate at the presence of this NATO vessel in Irish waters.
In the course of the afternoon someone allegedly threw a container of blood or red paint at the Submarine. When the Gardai arrived they were asked to arrest the Dutch NATO sailors who were armed with automatic rifles on the deck of the submarine. Needless to say they didn't do this.
John Jefferies, one of the organisers of the demo said "It seems to me people will make a fuss about a purely symbolic gesture but completely ignore the presence of a heavily armed military submarine in our neutral port and NATO crewmen carrying assault weapons in our port. Under the Hague Convention of 1907 neutral countries are not supposed to harbour the military of countries involved in a war or build-up to war. At present there is a game of cat and mouse between NATO and the Russians and NATO have been following a Russian warship bound for the Mediterranean. Four NATO warships were berthed in Belfast this weekend as part of that build up."
"Neutrality means not supporting or giving succour to ANY foreign military - regardless of whether they are US / NATO, Russian or anyone else" said John. "For the last 15 years the Irish government has broken that neutrality at Shannon Airport, now there is clear evidence that this is spreading to Cork port."
There has been an increasing number of NATO warships visiting Cork harbor in recent times, so it is important to mount protests in future whenever these occur. Its a further attempt to erode Irish neutrality, so well done to our friends in Cork who organised the demonstration.