Shannon Airport Viability Should Not Depend on the US Military
The peace and human rights group Shannonwatch have called on the Irish government to avoid using the US military to help keep Shannon Airport open as it struggles to remain viable. In light of the recent Aer Lingus announcement that it was closing its passenger operations at Shannon, Shannonwatch call for a development strategy for the airport that does not include a reliance on the transit of foreign troops and their weapons to keep it open.
“US troop carriers, US Air Force planes and other military and diplomatic flights continue to pass through Shannon with worrying regularity” said a Shannonwatch spokesperson. “Despite Covid-19 travel restrictions, these flights have continued uninterrupted throughout the pandemic. Not only is this a breach of Irish neutrality, it has also put the health of workers at the airport at risk.
Over just three days at the end of May, Shannonwatch recorded nine US military related flights at Shannon.
“From midday on Thursday May 27th to midday on Saturday 29th, six troop carriers operated by Omni Air International landed at Shannon. We also had a US Air Force C-32A on its way to Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, and two C-40’s. One of the C-40’s was on its way from Andrews to Alexandroupolis Airport in Greece. The other was going between Ramstein Air Base in Germany and Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina.” said Shannonwatch.
The Shannonwatch spokesperson said “At a time when Foreign Minister Simon Coveney was quite rightly critical of Israel for failing to protect civilians in Gaza during two weeks of bombing, he is allowing their staunchest ally, the US, to take troops and military planes through Shannon without any oversight or inspection.” Both Israel and the US have obligations under international law, as do all States. We cannot be critical of one while supporting another as its ignores the mechanisms of the United Nations and continues to create instability globally”.
Shannonwatch are resuming their monthy peace vigils on Sunday June 13th, at 2pm at the entrance to Shannon Airport. The peace vigil is calling for an end to the US military use of Shannon Airport, and will be conducted in line with Covid-19 regulations.
The peace vigil will also commemorate more than 60 children who were killed in the latest Israeli attacks on Gaza, as well as three Palestinian children killed in the West Bank, and two Israeli children. “These crimes against children are just the latest example of the hundreds of thousands of children who have died as result of wars across the wider Middle East since the First Gulf War in 1991” said Shannonwatch.
People joining the peace vigil at Shannon on June 13th are asked to wear a mask and respect social distancing requirements.