War and Human Rights Abuse Are Not in the DNA of Shannon

Last week the chairman of the Shannon Airport Authority (SAA), Rose Hynes revealed that Shannon Airport was not just willing to accommodate US military flights but that it was actively going after what she called ‘important’ and 'lucrative' US military traffic. Shannonwatch are dismayed by this admission that the Irish government, which owns the airport, has completely abandoned the notion of Irish neutrality and is planning continued participation in US wars of aggression.

Shannonwatch believe the SAA chairman’s statement also reflects an unacceptable level of greed for short term income regardless of the consequences. “Estimates indicate that over one million people have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan since the troops started coming through Shannon a decade ago. Like many others, Ms Hynes is clearly more than willing to profit from these deaths and to be part of an economy built on permanent global warfare” said John LAnnon, spokesperson for Shannonwatch.

"When she addressed the Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications last week, Ms Hynes claimed that military traffic has been in the DNA of Shannon for many years.  In fact what is happening now is very different to the military use of Shannon in the past" said John Lannon. "US military traffic that  traditionally passed through Shannon Airport consisted exclusively of  peacetime soldiers. They were obliged to be unarmed, not even engaged in  military exercises, and no munitions were allowed on their aircraft. This was well within the international rules for neutral states. In October 2001 this situation changed. Armed US troops on their way to war in Afghanistan, and later Iraq, were invited by the Irish Government to  transit through Shannon Airport, in breach of international laws on neutrality."

“By claiming the US military business is important, Rose Hynes is turning a blind eye to millions of avoidable deaths that resulted from these wars, and to the displacement and suffering of millions more people. And by claiming that military traffic is in the DNA of Shannon she is doing a grave disservice to the very many people living and working in Shannon who want nothing to do with unnecessary warfare.”

“It’s also important to remember that the Irish government still has a responsibility to inspect aircraft to ensure the passengers and crew are not engaged in war crimes, renditions or other human rights abuse” said the Shannonwatch spokesperson. “Equally Ms Hynes, as chairman of the SAA, cannot ignore the evidence that the airport she presides over has been used repeatedly over the last decade by CIA rendition aircraft, and is in all probability continuing to facilitate violations of international law.  Would she be as willing to ignore drug shipments through the airport as she is to accept military activities that cause widespread fatalities?”

Peace activists have been highlighting the unacceptability of what goes on at Shannon for many years. Statements like those of Ms Hynes show that further peaceful non-violent protests will be required in the coming months.


For more information contact Shannonwatch on 087 8225087 or email shannonwatch@gmail.com. See also www.shannonwatch.org.


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