Shannon Peace Conference - Press Release

A Peace Forum took place at Shannon Airport on the 6th anniversary of the beginning of the Iraq War, in which the Irish Government was a willing participant. The Iraq and Afghan wars have led to the unlawful and unjustified deaths of up to one million people. This forum was held to highlight the need for accountability for the Irish Governments complicity with the war crimes committed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Irish Government, led by Mr Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowen has been complicit in crimes against humanity, and in crimes of torture, by inviting and allowing over one million armed US troops, and hundreds of CIA associated aircraft to be refuelled at Shannon airport in breach of Irelands international obligations and of Irish and international laws.

The cost of the Iraq war to the American people has been estimated at up to three trillion dollars, and we know that 4,260 US troops have died in Iraq. We do not know how many dollars this war has cost the people of Iraq, and we have only rough estimates of the numbers of Iraqi dead and injured, because the US and its allies deliberately avoid counting these horrific costs. An estimated 250,000 Iraqi children have died as a result of this war. The people of Iraq are due massive reparations not only from the United States, but also from other complicit governments, including Ireland.

While we welcome the Irish Governments decision to accept former Guantanamo prisoners to Ireland, some Guantanamo prisoners are likely to have justifiable claims for damages due to Irelands complicity in their torture and their extraordinary rendition to Guantanamo. Ireland claims to be neutral state and a supporter of the United Nations. The actions of the Irish Government since 2001 have proven otherwise. We are in gross breach of the Hague Convention on Neutrality, and by supporting the US war against Iraq, Ireland has been in breach of the UN Charter.

In addition to the death and devastation caused by these wars in the Middle East, the transit of large numbers of armed US troops and unknown quantities of munitions thorough Shannon poses very serious risks to users of Shannon airport and its workers. Many of the chartered aircraft used are old and in poor repair and have been involved in several serious safety incidents. Shannon airport is totally unsuitable for the transit of dangerous munitions and there is a risk of a catastrophic accident if a fire should occur on a munitions aircraft at Shannon. If necessary the airport should be closed to prevent its continuing misuse and complicity in crimes against humanity.

Recent government attempts to resell the Irish people a pig in a poke called the Lisbon Treaty have emphasised that Ireland will be given assurances, or protocols or declarations, or whatever, on Irish neutrality. Such assurances are simply lies, given the reality of the abuse of Irish neutrality that is happening daily at Shannon airport.

The Lisbon Treaty will be strenuously opposed by the Peace and Neutrality Alliance and by peace activists unless the transit of US troops through Irish territory is ended forthwith, and Irish neutrality is restored, by a credible constitutional amendment.

For more information contact:

Edward Horgan Tel: 086-3539911. Email: edward_horgan(at)hotmail(dot)com

Roger Cole, Chairperson, PANA. Email pana(at)eircom(dot)net

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