US Air Force Special Ops at Shannon Airport

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On Monday June 5th, an inconspicuous US Air Force Special Operations airplane left Shannon heading towards the Miiddle East. The C-146A "Wolfhound" 12-3060 looks like a normal civilian plane but it is far from that. In fact it is used to support special forces operating in war zones.

According to the US Air Force themselves the C-146A's primary mission is "to provide U.S. Special Operations Command flexible, responsive and operational movement of small teams needed in support of Theater Special Operations Commands (TSOC)".

Air Force Special Operations Command aircrews conduct airlift missions to "prepared and semi-prepared airfields around the world" according to the US Air Force.

Does this mean Shannon Airport is now considered to be a "prepared" or "semi-prepared" US military airfield?

According to the C-146A provides flexible, responsive and operational transportation of the US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) personnel in the theatre (of war). It is also used to conduct non-standard aviation (NSAv) missions to assist Joint Special Operameans tions Command of the USSOCOM. The aircraft can carry up to 27 passengers, while its flight deck accommodates two pilots and a loadmaster.

The US Air Force website says the plane is modified to permit cargo and CASEVAC missions and that it supports "overseas contingency operations across four geographic combatant commands".

Combatant means engaged in active fighting with enemy forces.

As US President Donald Trump's regime continues to wage war, supply weapons and escalate tensions in the Middle East, the Irish government denies what is evident to everyone - that we too are complicit in the killing of innocent people by providing an airbase for US combatants.

How much longer can Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan continue to lie about Irish neutrality? When will he stop claiming that planes like the US Air Force C-146 are not engaged in military operations or exercises?

How many more thousand people must die before an Irish government refuses to support the flaunting of international law and the transiting of killers through Shannon Airport?

Incoming Taoiseach Leo Varadkar says he will set up a special Cabinet sub committee to deal with terrorist attacks. There is however one immediate step he can take to reduce terrorism, and that is to stop supporting the wars that are the root cause of such attacks. By withdrawing support for US military aggression he would not only make Ireland a safer place, he would also be taking an important international stand against war and militarization.

We call on Leo Varadkar to re-establish Ireland's valuable role as an actively neutral state by ending the US military use of Shannon Airport as one of his first acts in office.


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