Missed Opportunity to Ask Questions about US Military Use of Shannon Airport

Press Statement from Limerick Councillor Cian Prendiville (AAA)

Cllr. Cian Prendiville has expressed disappointment that councillors did not get a chance to ask questions of Matthew Thomas the new CEO of Shannon Airport after he addressed the council yesterday. The AAA Councillor described it as a 'lost opportunity'.

"We had a surreal situation where the head of the airport was kind enough to attended the council meeting, yet half the councillors weren't even in the room, and those of us that were there were told to just sit there and say nothing. No questions, no discussion. The councillors were just there as nodding dogs it seemed. The future of the airport is very important for the region and proper balanced regional development, and councillors should have been allowed to discuss it.

"In addition to that, I had a number of very important questions that I think the people of Limerick and the mid west need to know about Shannon Airport, in particular the dangers flowing from its use as a military airport by the US army, air force and navy . I will now be writing to Matthew Thomas of Shannon Airport asking him those questions:

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Gives Some (Not Much) Information on Foreign Military Traffic

In answer to recent parliamentary questions from Clare Daly TD the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade gave some sparse details of the foreign military traffic that passes through Ireland. Any of these that are engaged in war-related activities are of course is in breach of Irish neutrality.

The main piece of information obtained from the Minister were that in 2016 there were 645 requests for military landings at Shannon. 592 - thats 92% - were from the US. We don't know exactly how many of them were refused permission, but we do know from our own monitoring records that most of them landed.

The other important information received is that there are quite a few foreign military landings at other Irish airports - 101 of them in 2016 to be exact.

Sun Country Airlines - More Covert US Military Traffic through Shannon?

Even the "normal" looking planes that come and go at Shannon Airport these days must be questioned, given the embeddedness of the US military and its contractors there.

Take the Sun Country Airlines aircraft with registration N818SY that was parked there on 17th and again on 18th January. When it arrived and departed from Shannon it had a regular Sun Country flight number (SYxxxx), but for the next legs of its journey after leaving Shannon it used the  "Camber" CMB call sign which indicates that it was under contract to the US military or Department of Defence.

Why was it not identified as a US military contracted plane at Shannon? 

Report on appearance of peace activist Dave Donnellan at Ennis District Court on January 11th

The following report on the appearance of peace activist Dave Donnellan at Ennis District Court on January 11th was prepared by our Court Correspondant. It relates to a peace action undertaken by DAveand Colm Roddy which took place on May 24th last year (see report here). Earlier court appearances on July 20th, Sept 14th and Nov 16th.

A Lingering Stench at Shannon

On 24th of May last year when peace actrivists Dave Donnellan and Colm Roddy went in to search a small US military executive jet, they also discovered that another far more suspicious aircraft was at Shannon that morning, and in fact took off on the main runway, just after Colm and Dave had crossed that runway.

Here is what a Shannonwatch researcher discovered about this aircraft

"The C-32B is a modified Boeing 757 and it features a standard seating fitment, as with a typical passenger jet. Any cargo must be stowed at the rear of the cabin as the usual cargo space in the hold has been configured to accommodate enlarged fuel tanks, extending the aircraft's unrefuelled max range to 6000 nautical miles.

The 486th Flight Test Squadron operates two Boeing C-32B and Boeing 757-23A aircraft on stand-by alert for special operations and intelligence missions world-wide. One of these, 02-4452, was at Shannon on the morning of March 25th.

So what was it doing there?

Over 730 US Military Flights Recorded at Shannon in 2016

US NAvy C-40 photographed at Shannon Airport on Jan 8th (2017)

Analysis of Shannonwatch data shows that over 730 US military flights landed at Shannon in 2016. That's more than 2 a day over the entire year. Of these, 413 were operated by the US Air Force, Navy or military, and the remainder were contracted troop carriers like Omni Air International.

Since August 2008 at total of at least 7,988 US military planes carrying armed troops or cargo have landed at the airport. This does not include suspect rendition planes and planes not identifying themselves as attached to the CIA or US military which have undountedly also landed there.