shannonwatch's blog

Minister Leo Varadkar Expresses Support for US War Activities at Shannon

Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar confirmed that his government wants to continue the use of Shannon Airport in US wars, and is even implementing new measures to facilitate failed and destructive American foreign policy. Speaking at a Chamber of Commerce business breakfast in Limerick on "Securing the Future of Shannon Airport", he responded to a question from Shannonwatch and PANA by confirming that quarter of a million troops a year come through the airport. He said America are our friends and that he wants to see the relationship continue. He even announced the opening of a new military pre-clearance facility at the airport.

Withdraw Irish Soldiers from Afghanistan before it’s too Late

Irish soldiers serving with NATO/ISAF forces in Afghanistan are increasingly in danger of being killed by Afghan soldiers, who are supposedly their allies. France is suspending its military operations in Afghanistan and may even withdraw from the NATO-led force after an Afghan soldier shot dead four French soldiers on 20 January 2012. Last December two French foreign legionnaires and one American were killed in similar shootings by Afghan soldiers. In 2009 an Afghan police officer shot and killed five British soldiers in Helmand.

It has subsequently emerged that the Afghan soldier responsible for the January 20 shooting was angry about a video that seemed to show US marines desecrating the bodies of Taliban insurgents.

Eamon Gilmore Misleads the Dail and the Irish People

The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs & Trade Eamon Gilmore made a number of misleading statements to the Dail today (23 January 2012) in response to questions by Mick Wallace TD. We would like to correct these statements.

Mr Gilmore stated: "There are no plans to change the arrangements for the overflight and landing of US military aircraft, which have been continuously in place under successive Governments for over 50 years."

This is incorrect. US military aircraft were allowed to refuel at Shannon over the past 50 years, but only if they were strictly unarmed, not carrying any munitions, not engaged in any war or even engaged in military training exercises. This was clearly established in Horgan v Ireland in the High Court on 28 April 2003.

Heavy Security at Shannon for First Peace Vigil of 2012

Shannon vigil attendees, 8th January
Two Gardai patrolling OMNI Air troop carrier at Shannon 8 Jan 2012

At the January peace vigil outside Shannon Airport today (Sunday 8th) twenty five people gathered in peaceful protest against the ongoing militarization of the airport. Those in attendance were outnumbered by Gardai (as is usual at these vigils), and they were denied access to the airport. Inside, several US troop carriers were under Irish army and Garda "protection", even though this military traffic is breaching Irish neutrality.

Guantánamo Bay - Ten Years of Torture

January 11, 2012 marks the tenth anniversary of the opening of the detention camp at Guantánamo Bay. There are still 171 men detained there, living in captivity, and mostly without any charges or a fair trial. Despite the fact that the U.S. government has itself cleared more than half of these men for release, and despite President Obama’s promise on his second day in office to close Guantánamo within a year, it has been almost twelve months since anyone has been released. This is the longest period of time that has elapsed since the prison’s opening without a single person being set free.

Actions Speak Louder than Words

What Taoiseach Enda Kenny says: (1) Ireland is at the fore of promoting peace, justice, security and development. (2) "... the Irish people have demonstrated an instinctive respect for peace, justice and human rights. It is absolutely right that these values are transmitted to the next generation."

What Taoiseach Enda Kenny does: (1) Allows an Irish airport to be used by armed occupation forces on their way to Afghanistan, where they contribute to ongoing suffering, injustice and insecurity. (2) Refuses to investigate clear evidence that US torture aircraft and crews have used Shannon Airport, and allows US forces linked to war crimes to continue to use the airport.