shannonwatch's blog

Harassing Peace Activists while Welcoming the US Air Force

On the evening of Thursday, May 30th, as a Shannonwatch member drove toward Shannon Airport he was overtaken by a Garda patrol car that then pulled off the road near Bunratty and proceeded to follow him all the way to Shannon. As he drove into the Shannon Industrial Estate the Shannonwatch peace activist saw a large US Air Force transport aircraft at the airport, so he pulled in to take a photograph of it. He got out of his car and was getting his camera when the Garda car that had followed him stopped behind him. A Garda got out and asked for his drivers licence which the Shannonwatch member produced. He asked the Garda if it was an authorised road traffic checkpoint, and if so who had authorised it. The Garda simply said he was authorised by the Constitution to demand the driving licence! 

Another Empire's Boot Stomps on Ireland

by Mike Ferner

May 24, 2019

Can a pair of U.S. military veterans and the Irish peace movement topple a key outpost of the American Empire entrenched on the Emerald Isle?  

That's the question a new mini-documentary explores about former Marine Ken Mayers and former Army paratrooper, Tarak Kauff as they begin a third month of activist exile in Ireland following a peaceful act of civil disobedience at Shannon Airport on St. Patrick's Day, walking onto the airfield with a banner that said, "Respect Irish Neutrality.  U.S. War Machine Out of Shannon Airport." 

Effectively using photos and film accounts of troop planes arriving and departing, as well as images of Ireland's "Easter Rising," the Action from Ireland production, "War Crimes Facilitated At Shannon Airport" lets the words of three veterans and Clare Daly an Irish Member of Parliament provide the narration.  They explain how the U.S. military quietly turned the civilian airport into a major hub for troops and weapons en route to wars in the Middle East.  Some three million troops have passed through Shannon since the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003.

US Military Use of Shannon Airport - Evidence and Statistics

The covert use of Shannon Airport by the US military is once again excalating, based on official statistics from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport. This is borne out by our own monitoring of the airport.

Yesterday evening (Saturday May 11th) at 8pm there were no civilian aircraft delivering or taking on civilian passengers at the airport. There were however 3 US warplanes. One was a US Marine Corps Hercules KC130J with mid air refuelling capacity number OH 16-9229, and this was accompanied by a smaller US Marine Corps executive jet, number VM 16-6767 Cesna UC-35D Citation Encore. These two aircraft were being protected by an Irish army patrol, and their crews and military passengers were most likely staying overnight in a local hotel. There was also an Omni Air International troop carrier, registration N225AX which is capable of carrying up to 300 armed US troops.

US Military "Overseas Contingency Operations" at Shannon

At Shannon Airport on May 7th we photographed these two US military aircraft.

One was a Hercules C130H number 92-3085, which arrived on 6th May, stayed overnight, and took off at 09.22am heading East towards Europe or Middle East.

The other was a US Air force C-146A Wolfhound.

Veterans for Peace Banner Unfurled on the Way into Shannon

Earlier this week, the two Veterans for Peace activists Tarak Kauff and Ken Mayers unfurled their banner on the carriageway approaching Shannon Airport.

They did this to highlight the ongoing misuse of the airport by the US military.

Kathy Kelly Letter of Support for Peace Activists Ken and Tarak

US Veterans and peace activists Ken Mayers and Tarak Kauff who entered Shannon Airport on March 17th with the intention of investigating an Omni Air International plane on contract to the U.S. military are still being denied permission by the Irish state to travel home to the US to their families. 

For information on their ongoing case see http://www.stopthesewars.org/kenandtarak/.

Meanwhile here is a powerful and heart-felt letter by peace activist Kathy Kelly. In response to the letter, Tarak wrote: "Feel free to be inspired to write your own to Irish Consulates and use some of her excellent points. I believe the majority of Irish citizens are not in favor of the US military's use of Shannon Airport. This is a time to keep the pressure on, not just for Ken and I, we're only instruments to draw attention to this issue, but if the Irish government ever has the courage to stand up to US militarism and wars - and that will only come about from public pressure - it will be a great victory for the world peace movement.