US Department of Defence Provide Flight Data for Shannon - We Add Some Important Details

The US Department of Defence has confirmed that 12,154 military flights have gone through Shannon between 2001 and the start of 2011. These took 2,030,925 armed troops and 8,487 tonnes of military cargo through what is supposed to be a civilian airport.

The figures which were published by RTE based on a freedom of information request to the US authorities are in line with military flight data recorded and published by Shannonwatch. Both show that on average more than 3 US military flights pass through Shannon every day. Most of these are troop carriers operated by Omni Air International. They use an ageing fleet of DC-10's, many of which are more than 25 years old.

All Any Irish Government Has to Do is Ask ...

US Troops at Shannon - only there because the Irish government wants them there

An RTE News story published last Friday (13 August) confirms Shannonwatch recordings of over three US military flights a day passing through Shannon Airport. The report, which is based on data supplied by the US Department of Defence, sets the number of troops that passed through the airport from 2001 up to the end of last January at over 2 million. More significantly however, information received by RTE indicates that the US military would have been willing to withdraw from its use of Shannon Airport several years ago but the Irish Government did not want them to do so.

Torture Doesn't Matter Any More it Seems

Two things that happened this week demonstrate the Irish state's ongoing acceptance of torture. The first was a written correspondence we received from a Department of Justice and Equality official stating that assertions of complicity in torture did not warrant inclusion in a major human rights report. The second was a prime time interview on the state broadcaster, RTE, in which the U.S. use of waterboarding was presented unchallenged.

Gardai Out in Force at Shannon - But Not to Search Planes

10 Guards, six activists - and a dog

Activists get accustomed to the presence of police at or near their demonstrations. But today's unnecessary presence of Gardai (police) at Shannon - where they outnumbered peaceful protestors by two to one - seemed strange and unnecessary. It was not a once off occurrance though; we've been holding peaceful vigils on the second Sunday of every month for three and a half years but in the last few months the state's reaction has become much more heavy handed. Is it coincidental that there has been a more determined effort to impede peaceful opposition to Shannon Airport's role in U.S. military and CIA operations since the present government and Minister for Justice took office?

Shannonwatch Recommendations to the Universal Periodic Review of Ireland's Human Rights Record

The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a United Nations process whereby the domestic human rights records of all 192 Member States are reviewed every four years. Ireland’s first review under UPR will take place on 6 October 2011. It will be the first time that Ireland’s human rights record is reviewed by other UN Member States, rather than expert groups such as the UN Treaty Monitoring Bodies. [For more information on the UPR see].

Shannonwatch have submitted a report to the UPR process which addresses two main areas of concern. These are Ireland’s role in the U.S. rendition programme and the transit of munitions, weapons and armed soldiers through Irish airspace and territory. In addition to Ireland’s human rights obligations, it recognises the State’s responsibilities as outlined in Article 2 of the Charter of the United Nations, the Geneva Conventions and other instruments of international humanitarian law, and the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907.

UN Committee Against Torture Tells the Irish Government to Investigate the State's Role in Renditions

We are pleased to note the recent recommendations from the UN Committee against Torture that Ireland needs to investigate allegations of involvement in rendition programmes and to ensure that these human rights violations will not occur again in Irish airports or airspace. These recommendations were made in the Concluding Observations of the Committee's review of Ireland’s implementation of the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. This review took place on the 23 and 24 May 2011.

The UN Committee against Torture is comprised of independent experts and is mandated by the United Nations (UN) Convention against Torture to monitor states’ implementation of the Convention. It joins a long list of reputable bodies that have called for Ireland to investigate its role in renditions.