Mary Kelly conviction overturned by Court of Appeal

On Friday 25th February 2011 the Court of Criminal Appeal in Dublin overturned the conviction against Mary Kelly for criminal damage to a US military aircraft at Shannon Airport on 29 January 2003. The decision was deliverd by Judges Peart, Hardiman and De Valera. Ms Kelly was originally convicted by Ennis Circuit Court in October 2004, and the appeal was heard on 29th July 2008. The Appeal judges offered no explanation as to why it took over two and a half years to deliver their judgment.

At her first trial in Kilrush Co. Clare, Ms Kelly’s response to the charge was: "I am not guilty as charged. I did what I have done with lawful excuse." This first trial resulted in a hung jury on 4th of July 2003. The State subsequently retried Ms Kelly and she was convicted in Ennis Circuit Court under Judge Carroll Moran on 29th October 2004. It was this conviction that was overturned today.

Engine Problems on U.S. Troop Carriers at Shannon Highlight Risks of Military Traffic to Civilians

Engine problems experienced by two separate Omni Air International troop carriers as they departed from Shannon on 6th and 7th February remind us once again of the grave dangers associated with transporting munitions and other military goods through a civilian airport like Shannon.

This is not the first time such incidents have occurred. The DC-10s used by Omni Air International are old and clearly not entirely reliable. Nonetheless the US Department of Defence considers them safe enough for their rank and file soldiers, while most of the higher ranking officers travel in executive jets and newer military aircraft. If one of these military contracted DC-10's crashed on take-off with a full load of fuel and thousands of rounds of ammunition on board, the consequences would be catastrophic. The airport fire brigade would be hard pressed to contain the damage to people and property as the ammunition started to cook off or explode.

Ireland Facilitated Thousands of U.S. Air Force and Troop Carrier Flights in 2010

President Obama declared the end of the U.S. combat mission in Iraq in August 2010, but as records of military traffic released by Shannonwatch show, 2010 was a year of business as usual for the U.S. military at the civilian Shannon Airport.  Over a thousand U.S. military troop and cargo flights landed at the airport in 2010, while more than four and a half thousand such flights are known to have passed through Irish airspace en-route to and from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Cargo companies with U.S. military contracts and planes linked to the extraordinary renditions programme also continued to use Shannon Airport.

Irish Government Minister's Complicity in Torture

The Irish Peace and Neutrality Alliance (PANA) and Shannonwatch express their concern and outrage at information concerning former Foreign Minister Dermott Ahern’s meeting with former US Ambassador Foley in 2007. The information which is revealed in a released Wikileaks cable relates to the use of Shannon airport for rendition of prisoners to Guantanamo and elsewhere, where many of them were tortured.

In a reported meeting, Ahern had been “quite convinced” that the United States had operated “at least three flights involving [prisoner] renditions” through the airport, stopping there to refuel before traveling back to the United States. Yet Dermot Ahern, Brian Cowen, and Bertie Ahern were all happy to publicly declare that they accepted the word of the United States Government that no such flights had occurred. In so doing, it is likely they have been guilty of knowingly misinforming the Irish people, given that they either knew or should have known that Shannon airport was used extensively to refuel CIA and other rendition flights.

American Peace Activist Chuck Fager to Speak in Limerick

American peace activist and author Chuck Fager will speak at the Quaker Meeting House, Southville Gardens, Ballinacurra, Limerick on Sunday 12th December at 8pm. The event is being co-hosted by the Limerick Society of Friends (Quakers) and Shannonwatch.

Chuck Fager is an American activist and author, and the director of Quaker House in Fayetteville, North Carolina. This is a peace witness project that has been in existence since 1969. It is located beside Fort Bragg, one of the largest military bases in the United States. US flights linked to renditions have take off from nearby airfields in North Carolina, and many of these have landed at Shannon for refueling or other purposes. Reports from the European Parliament, the Irish Human Rights Commission and others have expressed concerns over Ireland’s facilitation of these flights.

Lack of Progress on Suspect Rendition Flights Through Shannon - Yet Another Irish Government Failure

Shannonwatch supports Amnesty International's call on the Irish Government to tighten up legislation around Irish airspace so that foreign civilian aircraft that might be engaged in renditions, and have detailed passenger information, could be identified.

Shannon Airport's Viability - U.S. Military are Part of the Problem, not the Solution

Peace activists in the mid-west support calls for Shannon Airport to be maintained as a viable travel hub for the region, with increased routes and traffic. However, they warn that this should not be done by relying on U.S. military traffic. When it comes to ensuring the viability of Shannon Airport, the war business is part of the problem, not the solution.

Airport Authorities at Shannon Guilty of Incompetence as well as Profiteering from War

In response to media reports that Shannon Airport faces the loss of US troop transfer business, Shannonwatch once again emphasises that war is not an acceptable business model for the airport.

Tony Blair Should be Answering For Millions of Deaths, Not Selling Books in Ireland

Shannonwatch plan to use the proposed visit by former British prime minister Tony Blair to Ireland on September 3rd and 4th to express their outrage at the lack of accountability for the suffering and death he inflicted on the people of Iraq and Afghanistan. A demonstration will be held in Limerick City Centre at 1pm on Thursday 2nd September to draw attention to Mr.

Shannonwatch Supports Demonstrations against Israeli Attack on Freedom Flotilla

Shannonwatch condemns the brutal attack by the Israeli Defence Forces on the six humanitarian aid ships in the 'Freedom Flotilla' to Gaza, and the murder of between 9 and 20 civilians on board one of the ships. This was a gross violation of international law, and it should be investigated fully and independently with those responsible held accountable.