Joining the UN Security Council - Our Actions Don't Match Our Words
As Ireland takes its seat on the US Security Council, our Minister for Foreign Affairs said Ireland would hope to “build alliances to get practical things done”. He wants to see Ireland playing a constructive, impactful role, to try to build consensus, relationships and trust, and ensure Ireland becomes a credible voice (see Irish Times report).
“This means saying no at times and standing up for ourselves and our own principles, even when it is a friend coming calling.” he said.
And at the same time he is giving permission to the "friend" who comes calling at Shannon every day of the week, looking to use the airport to refuel troop carriers and other military planes on their way to and from warzones that the same "friend" has created in the Middle East.
The Minister appears to have no intention of saying no to the U.S. as it plunders the world's natural resources, spends billions of dollars on weapons, and creates instability around the globe.
Not to mention the fact that it is also in breach of our neutrality.
Here's what passed through in the last days of 2020 and the the start of 2021:
Omni Air troop carriers N225AX (Dec 29th), N351AX (Dec 30th) and N819AX (Jan 3rd). We tracked one of these (N225AX) from a Texas Air base to a US air base at Camp Lemonier in Djibouti which is used by US military to launch drone and special forces attacks on the peoples of Yemen and Somalia.
A U.S. Navy C40 (Boeing 737) registration number is 16-6696 landed on Dec 29th at 21:42, coming from its base in Oceana Naval Air Station in Virgina Beach. It stayed overnight before flying on to Naples at 14:35 on Dec 30th. It was back again at 10pm that night, left at 14:02 on Dec 31st flying back to the US.
This plane is operated by the VR 56 Squadron which is a US Navy logistics support unit. It's crew and possibly passengers had to stay overnight in Limerick or Clare in a local hotel, thereby contributing to the risk of Covid-19 infection in the area. To combat the spread of the disease, several US military bases instituted stringent level of restrictions according to a recent Forbes report. Yet Simon Standing-up-for-Ourselves Coveney thinks its ok to let them stay in hotels here.
Another US Navy C40 registration 16-5836 landed on Dec 31st at 11:17 on its way from Bahrain via Sigonella Air Base in Sicily. It left again at 12:47.
On the night of 25/26 April 2017 as this plane sat on the tarmac with another US Navy C40, two peace activists entered Shannon Airport in an attempt to search it or to ensure that Gardai searched and investigated them. They are still before the courts charged with alegedly writing the words 'DANGER DANGER DO NOT FLY' on the engine of one of the warplanes. The trial is set for 13 December 2021, 4 years and 8 months after the peace action.
Ireland cannot be a credible voice on the UN Security Council until these planes stop landing at Shannon. And Simon Coveney could stop them at any time but he choses not to.
Photograph of 2 U.S. Navy C40's at Shannon from a previous visit