Anti War Groups Welcome the Inauguration of an Anti-War President

Peace and anti-war groups in Ireland including PANA, the Irish Anti War Movement (IAWM), Shannonwatch and Galway Alliance Against War (GAAW) have expressed their hope that the inauguration of Michael D Higgins as the 9th President of Ireland will further the cause of peace, and will bring a renewed focus on the importance of Irish neutrality. These are issues that he has passionately defended throughout his political career, and it is hoped and expected that he will continue to do so as president. 

Michael D Higgins has consistently opposed the use of Shannon, a civilian airport, for the invasions and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. He was critical of the apparent Irish collusion with the US government in relation to suspected rendition flights through Shannon, and in 2010 he called on the government to withdraw the Irish military personnel serving in Afghanistan. However there are still up to 600 armed US troops a day passing through Shannon Airport, and there is no oversight or inspection of planes suspected of carrying illegally kidnapped prisoners, CIA assassination crews or dangerous munitions. This is despite the fact that the current programme for government, which Michael D Higgins’ Labour Party signed up to, says they will enforce the prohibition on the use of Irish airspace, airports and related facilities for purposes not in line with the dictates of international law.

It is hoped that as Head of State Michael D Higgins will continue to articulate his lifelong anti-war message. While the Irish president does not have a direct executive or policy role in Irish affairs, he nonetheless represents the people when undertaking official engagements at home and abroad. PANA, the IAWM, Shannonwatch, GAAW and other anti-war activists are confident that President Higgins will take every opportunity to stress his own and the Irish people’s wishes for peace and justice at home and abroad. And they look forward to seeing a return to an Ireland that supports peace, not war, during his presidency.

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