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Shannonwatch Appalled at Court Decision to Convict Mick Wallace and Clare Daly

Shannonwatch are appalled at today's decision by a court in Ennis to convict TDs Mick Wallace and Clare Daly for their attempts to search a US military plane at Shannon. The two TDs were given two maximum €1000 fines each by Judge Durkan, despite the overwhelming evidence to support their case that they had no alternative but to do what they did.

"The court accepted without qualification the knowledge and expertise of the witnesses who outlined serious breaches of neutrality and other laws at Shannon." said Clare Daly. "And let's remember the details of this evidence as presented to the court. There was evidence of guns on military planes, of soldiers going to war through a country that claims to be neutral, of CIA rendition planes, and of ongoing refusals to inspect these planes. The judge accepted that Mick and I have been obstructed, sidetracked and ignored in our efforts to discover the truth about Shannon. Yet in sentencing us he took an extremely narrow view of the law. He effectively admitted that his hands were tied, and he refused to deal with all the evidence presented to him."

US Military Plane Inspection Attempt at Shannon Because of Lack of Oversight by Authorities

Edward Horgan of Veterans for Peace and Shannonwatch was detained at Shannon Airport last Saturday morning (April 18th) as a result of his attempt to search one of four US military Hercules C-130s at the airport. Speaking after being released by the Gardai, he said his action was a result of the failure of the Irish Government and the Gardaí to take steps to ensure that US military aircraft at Shannon are not acting in breach of international laws or Irish neutrality.

Dr Horgan was about to board a flight to London to attend the AGM of Veterans for Peace UK when he saw the Hercules aircraft nearby. He walked over towards the aircraft and he approached the first Hercules C130 he was stopped by an airport security officer. "I explained to him that I wished to search the four aircraft but he prevented me from doing so" said Dr Horgan. "He was then joined by other members of the airport police and I was taken to the terminal building where I was handed over to a Garda Immigration officer".

Shannonwatch Calls for Support for Mick Wallace and Clare Daly on Day 2 of their Trial

TDs Mick Wallace and Clare Daly are back in court in Ennis at 2pm on Tuesday March 10th as a result of their attempt to inspect a US military aircraft at Shannon Airport.

This is the second day of a case that has already heard evidence from a number of witnesses who outlined the problematic nature of the US military presence at Shannon. These witnesses included Irish Times Security Analyst Dr Tom Clonan, former UN Deputy Secretary Denis Halliday, international lawyer and neutrality expert Roberto Zamora, and Dr Edward Horgan of Shannonwatch.

Shannonwatch Call for Support for TDs Who Attempted to Inspect US Military Airplane

Shannonwatch are urging their supporters to come to Ennis District Court on Tuesday February 24th to support TDs Clare Daly and Mick Wallace who attempted to inspect a US military plane at Shannon last July. Their alleged offence is illegal entrance into a restricted area of the airport, and their action was in response to the failure of the authorities to inspect US aircraft at Shannon.

Shannonwatch have repeatedly called for an end to the US military use of Shannon. They also call for inspection of all military and suspected CIA aircraft at the airport for as long as they are being allowed to pass through.

Clare Daly and Mick Wallace have made it clear that as legislators and as citizens they have a responsibility to uphold Irish neutrality. They have made every attempt inside the Dáil to highlight Ireland's complicity in war at Shannon, but the government has refused to allow the Gardai to inspect US military aircraft.

Ireland Should Respond to Charlie Hebdo Attacks by Ending its Support for Wars Linked to Terrorism

As Europe comes to terms with the recent brutal acts of violence in Paris, Shannonwatch calls for measured and responsible responses from governments, religious leaders and others in positions of influence. In keeping with this call, their monthly peace vigil at Shannon Airport this Sunday 11th January called for an end to the US military use of the airport and demonstration of a more positive neutrality from Ireland.

"We unequivocally condemn the attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices and the killings that took place in Paris in the past week" said a Shannonwatch spokesperson. "There is no justification for such violence".

"Incidents of extreme and unjustified violence, combined with discrimination and racism, are occurring with increasingly regularity in societies in the Middle East, Eastern Europe and the Western world. The atrocities committed in France the most recent example but there has also been a significant increase in anti-Semitism and Islamophobia across Europe, as well as anti-Christian attacks and persecution associated with conflicts in several Middle Eastern states".

Ministers who had Concerns about CIA Renditions and Shannon Must Help Address past Mistakes

Shannonwatch note the concerns that two former Irish ministers had in relation to the CIA's torture and renditions programme, as reported in the Irish Times of 22 December (2014). The Ministers in question are Dermot Ahern who was Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Michael McDowell who was Minister for Justice, when a report by Dick Marty for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe identified Ireland and Shannon as a CIA stop-over point. Nonetheless they failed to take decisive action at the time, other than to ask the US government if they were taking prisoners through Shannon.

Given what they now know about the brutal and systematic nature of CIA torture, former ministers Ahern and McDowell should now reveal the full extent of their concerns, and enable a proper investigation of the CIA's use of Shannon Airport to get under way.