06DUBLIN1284

Classification: 
CONFIDENTIAL
Subject: 
THE AMBASSADOR AND FOREIGN MINISTER DISCUSS SHANNON, NORTHERN IRELAND
Created: 
3 Nov 2006
Released: 
22 Jul 2011
Summary: 
November 1st meeting between the US Ambassador and the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dermot Ahern. Ahern urged cooperation so that there were no "surprises" regarding US military use of Shannon. The Irish Parliament had required him to explain previous US failures to notify transits involving weapons and military prisoners. He was due to address EU Parliament on rendition and he planned to use the US assurances argument. Ahern conceded that the fault for not seeking full information on material/passengers lay with Irish government. The Ambassador said he was appreciative of use of Shannon and that they plan to coordinate the media strategy. Ahern said their "outreach" diffused the public criticism over the June transit of a Marine prisoner. The Pitstop Ploughshares acquittal was also discussed - Ahern said it had "seriously disturbed the Irish Government Cabinet" but that there was no means to overturn the jury decision. The Minister for Justice Michael McDowell had been asked to examine ways to close off the "legal loopholes" exploited by defence lawyers. The Ambassador wanted to prevent future action to disrupt military operations at Shannon. Ahern says security has been upgraded and "protest movement appeared to be losing steam" (quoting a sparsely attended rally on 28th Oct).