Shannonwatch welcomes the dismissal of charges brought by the State against Edward Horgan at Ennis District Court today. The charges were a result of his attempt to inspect US military aircraft parked near the terminal building on April 18th 2015.
"Today's acquittal at Ennis District would was a small step in the right direction towards ending US military use of Shannon" said Dr Horgan. "This is just the latest in a series of trials of peace activists over their efforts to prevent complicity with war crimes at Shannon airport. This campaign will continue until Irish neutrality is restored, and Shannon airport is returned to proper civilian use only."
Dr Horgan was on his way to a peace conference in London on the day in question when he saw four US Hercules C-130 turboprop aircraft lined up just beyond the Aer Lingus plane he was boarding. Evidence to the court showed that he engaged in a "communicative protest" by walking towards the military planes to highlight the need to inspect them.
One of the most notable aspects of the court case was the failure by a Garda sergeant to identify a single instance in which he or his colleagues at Shannon used their powers to inspect a US military plane. Under cross examination by Dr Horgan's solicitor he confirmed that he had never inspected one, despite being aware of the volumes of information and evidence provided by Shannonwatch.
Evidence was presented to the court by John Lannon of Shannonwatch, TDs Mick Wallace and Clare Daly, and Dr Horgan himself. They showed the absurdity of "assurances" from the government that the US military planes are not carrying arms or engaged in military operations. Details were given of weapons on troop carriers, of visible 30mm cannon on Hercules planes, and of rendition planes at Shannon. As is usual in trials of peace activists, none of this evidence was contested.
"Hundreds of statements to the Gardai as well of hundreds of parliamentary questions have failed to shed light on the nature of the US military use of Shannon" said John Lannon. "We know now that the Gardai never inspect them, despite their presence there being in breach of Irish neutrality".
The example of a National Air Cargo plane that went through Shannon recently on its way to the US airbase in Bagram, Afghanistan highlights the absurdity of claims about Irish neutrality not being breached at Shannon. In evidence to the court Clare Daly TD said the Minister for Transport's claims that the airline was carrying foodstuffs were difficult to believe, and that they provided a clear example of the need for inspections at the airport.
Shannonwatch demands an end to Ireland's support for US wars of aggression and occupation, and for inspection of all US military planes passing through Shannon for as long as they are allowed to land there.