Statement on Visit of US President Joe Biden to Ireland
Shannonwatch calls on the Irish government to use the opportunity of US President Joe Biden’s visit to reaffirm Ireland’s commitment to peace and international stability. It also calls on the US president to respect our commitment to non-membership of military alliances and to end the ongoing use of Shannon Airport by the US military.
As we mark the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement that helped bring peace to Northern Ireland, it is shameful that we are actively working against peace in other parts of the world. The US military used Shannon Airport to support the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. Today they continue to bring troops and their weapons through Shannon, despite the Irish government’s claims that we to follow a policy of military neutrality.
As someone with Irish roots, Joe Biden should understand how deeply the principle of neutrality is to the majority of Irish people. He has an opportunity to honour this by ending the US military use of Shannon Airport now.
In recent days the Tainiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin referred to a blatant and brutal disregard by Russia of international law when it invaded Ukraine. It is vital that this justified criticism of Russia is matched by equally strong resistance to US and NATO military responses, acts of aggression and weapons supply at the expense of genuine attempts to find peaceful resolutionto ongoing conflicts in Ukraine, Yemen, Palestine and other parts of the world.
The US has over 800 military bases in more than 70 countries. If we are serious about our commitment to peaceful resolution of conflicts we should be encouraging the US to reduce this number dramatically, instead of attempting to turn Shannon into another permanent US military base.
As Joe Biden addresses the Houses of the Oireachtas we call on him to respect the commitment in Article 29 of the Irish constitution to the ideal of peace and friendly co-operation amongst nations founded on international justice and morality, and to adherence to the principle of the pacific settlement of international disputes by international arbitration or judicial determination. Ireland should not allow itself to be used to promote a US foreign policy that relies on military might and seeks to dominate global affairs through bullying and aggression.
Successive Irish Governments have breached international law by supporting US led wars of aggression in the Middle East. During President Biden’s visit, the Irish government should let him know that we are fundamentally opposed to all US wars of aggression, including its ongoing support for the war in Ukraine through its ongoing supply of weapons.
There has never been a greater need for countries like Ireland to take a stand for peace. The number of people forcibly displaced around the world as a result of war and climate change now exceeds 100 million. US military expenditure and weapons production contributes in no small way to this. As a country that has the undivided attention of the President for several days we must call on him to end the escalation of global violence now.