shannonwatch's blog

Report on Latest Instalment of the Prosecution of Shannon Peace Activists

This court report summary from last Wednesday 13 December was compiled by an observer in Ennis Court. The harassment of whistle-blowing peace activists goes on.

By way of background, this court case (or cases?) arises due to an incident on 25 April last when Dan Dowling and Ed Horgan went to Shannon airport to search and investigate two US Navy aircraft that were parked overnight at Shannon while on their way from the United States to the Middle East as part of the US wars of aggression. Wednesday's hearing was just a "for mention" hearing, sort of, "nothing to see here, move along there now".

Dan's case came up first on the alphabetical order list. He requested that both cases be heard together as there were similar applications to be made. His request was just brushed aside by the Judge Durcan. Dan was representing himself as his legal team was not available on the day.

Invitation to Women's Peace Camp at Shannon (Jan 6th/7th)

Well known peace activist and feminist Margaretta D'arcy has issued a call to celebrate Women's Little Christmas/Nollaig na mBan in a meaningful way by coming along to the Shannon Airport Women's Peace Camp on Jan 6th.

No Answers from the Gardai at Shannon

It was a cold, wet Sunday afternoon at Shannon Airport. Two US Navy aircraft sat on the tarmac; one was a Hercules KC-130T Hercules, registration 164993, the other a C-40 Clipper, registration 168980 (both regular visitors to Shannon). Outside the airport, the regular monthly peace vigil took place as Gardai, with their backs to the US Navy planes, blocked the attendees from entering the airport.

There have been 10 years of monthly peace vigils, all calling on the authorities and the Irish government to inspect US military and CIA planes landing at Shannon. The US military use of Shannon needs to end, in order to restore Ireland's credibility as a neutral state. But in the meantime the inspection of the planes is a necessary step towards re-establishing the Irish authorities' control of our civilian airport.

Dail Eireann Agrees to PESCO - Another Step Towards a European Army

A press conference hosted by the Peace and Neutrality Alliance (PANA) was held on 7th December to highlight government plans to rush a motion through the Dail to agree the new PESCO agreement. Peace and human rights campaigners fear a more militarised EU linked to NATO, and as opponents of the Lisbon Treaty 2009 suggested then and now, it will lead to a European Army.

Later on in a rushed debate on PESCO, opposition TDs highlighted their concerns about Irish neutrality, allying ourselves with the imperial military forces of France, Germany and the US. Mick Wallace TD condemned the use of Shannon Airport by US military as a base to invade and terrorise nations around the world.

Debate Needed on PESCO

The Fine Gael / Independents government is to propose to the Dail this coming week that Ireland join the EU's Permanent Structured Cooperation on security and defence (PESCO). This will mean a new EU Defence budget starting at over €1.5 billion a year (up from €590 million). Each participating EU state, including Ireland, will be required to reach an average of 2% of its GDP to ensure that the EU becomes a global military power.

As a result, Ireland will have to increase its military expenditure by 2020. According to the Phoenix Magazine (1/12/17) the Government is seeking a leap in defence spending from the current €946 million in 2018 to around €3 billion plus by 2020. This is likely to result in major cuts in other areas such as the health sector.

PESCO - Further Erosion of Irish Neutrality

The Irish Government has given the go-ahead for Ireland to take part in an EU security and defence pact called Permanent Structured Co-operation (PESCO). This is one of the most important decisions this Fine Gael / Independeny Alliance government will make. As such there should have been serious debate on the issue, with all points of view presented, in the mainstream corporate media. This has not been the case; the media has largely ignored this further erosion of Irish neutrality, just as it continues to ignore the use of Shannon Airport by US troops.