Extent of Shannon and Ireland’s Complicity in War Revealed

The Department of Transport has revealed that in 2014 a total of 272 flights were given permits to take weapons or explosives through Shannon Airport. In response to a freedom of information request by Shannonwatch they confirmed that the majority of the flights were taking US troops between military bases and locations in the Middle East. The information also shows that US troop carriers and aircraft with machine guns, rocket motors and other war material are routinely allowed to fly through Irish airspace. Again the majority of these are flying to or from US military bases around the world.

The permits are requested by airline operators under the Air Navigation (Carriage of Munitions of War, Weapons and Dangerous Goods) Order. Close to twenty requests were refused in 2014 but the Department would not reveal where these were from or why they were refused. It would only state that they were refused on the advice of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Shannon Air Show Ignores Airport’s Involvement in War

As Shannon Airport prepares to stage an air show on July 18th to celebrate its achievements in the world of aviation, peace groups in Ireland issue a reminder that its recent history is not one to be proud of. Since 2001 the airport has been used by the US military as a gateway to wars in the Middle East. These wars have resulted in the death of innocent men, women and children, left millions of people homeless, and destroyed communities and entire countries.

"While it is fitting to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the first commercial transatlantic flight from Shannon Airport and to acknowledge its important role in aviation in Ireland, we cannot ignore the fact that in the last 15 years it has been used to illegally invade Iraq and Afghanistan and has been part of the CIA's global campaign of kidnapping and torture" said John Lannon of Shannonwatch.

"Shannon became the original airport gateway between the US and Europe and was the birthplace of Duty Free. It is now a gateway to human suffering and war." added Mr Lannon.

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.

US Senate Report on CIA Torture Shows its Time for the Irish Government to Act

Shannonwatch are appalled at the shocking revelations about CIA torture of detainees in the US Senate intelligence committee report released on Tuesday Dec 9th. Details of the methods used, the extent of the torture and the scale of lies and deceit from a government agency are even worse than was already known. Ireland's complicity has already been documented by other reports, but given this new information it is now well past time for a full investigation of the role played by Shannon in the brutal and illegal interrogation undertaken by the CIA in the past decade.

"Since George Bush authorised the use of torture after 9/11, Shannon Airport has been a part of the global torture networks operated by the CIA" said John Lannon of Shannonwatch. "This has been well documented by a range of international bodies but yet the Department of Foreign Affairs continue to pretend Ireland is not implicated in rendition or torture. They base this on assurances from the US government that no prisoners were transported through Irish territory. But we know now that the CIA and the US government lied about their torture programme."

Court Summons for TDs who Attempted to Do What the Gardai Should be Doing

Shannonwatch have expressed their disappointment that the State has decided to summons TDs Clare Daly and Mick Wallace to appear before Ennis District Court on Wednesday December 3rd for peace actions, while at the same time failing to investigate complaints made about US military and other aircraft that may be in breach of international law.

The two TDs are charged with climbing the perimeter fence of Shannon Airport on 22nd July 2014, and with entering a part of the airport that they did not have permission to be in. The two deputies are adamant that they did not commit any offence however, and that they were simply there to do what the authorities would not do, which was to inspect two US military aircraft that may have been carrying weapons illegally.