To coincide with US President Donald Trump's visit to Ireland, protests will be held at Shannon Airport starting at 3pm on June 5th. The US President is expected to land at Shannon that day, to fly out and back again on June 6th, and to leave on June 7th. A Peace Camp will be set up outside the airport for the duration of his visit, including overnight on the 5th and 6th June, and people are invited to spend whatever time they can there in order to maintain an ongoing protest against his presence in Ireland.
by Mike Ferner
May 24, 2019
Can a pair of U.S. military veterans and the Irish peace movement topple a key outpost of the American Empire entrenched on the Emerald Isle?
That's the question a new mini-documentary explores about former Marine Ken Mayers and former Army paratrooper, Tarak Kauff as they begin a third month of activist exile in Ireland following a peaceful act of civil disobedience at Shannon Airport on St. Patrick's Day, walking onto the airfield with a banner that said, "Respect Irish Neutrality. U.S. War Machine Out of Shannon Airport."
Effectively using photos and film accounts of troop planes arriving and departing, as well as images of Ireland's "Easter Rising," the Action from Ireland production, "War Crimes Facilitated At Shannon Airport" lets the words of three veterans and Clare Daly an Irish Member of Parliament provide the narration. They explain how the U.S. military quietly turned the civilian airport into a major hub for troops and weapons en route to wars in the Middle East. Some three million troops have passed through Shannon since the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003.
On the evening of Thursday, May 30th, as a Shannonwatch member drove toward Shannon Airport he was overtaken by a Garda patrol car that then pulled off the road near Bunratty and proceeded to follow him all the way to Shannon. As he drove into the Shannon Industrial Estate the Shannonwatch peace activist saw a large US Air Force transport aircraft at the airport, so he pulled in to take a photograph of it. He got out of his car and was getting his camera when the Garda car that had followed him stopped behind him. A Garda got out and asked for his drivers licence which the Shannonwatch member produced. He asked the Garda if it was an authorised road traffic checkpoint, and if so who had authorised it. The Garda simply said he was authorised by the Constitution to demand the driving licence!
The Shannonwatch member then pointed out the US Air Force C17 military aircraft and requested that the Gardai search and investigate it. The Garda responded twice that this was way beyond his level of pay. The Shannonwatch member then asked the Garda to contact his superiors and take steps to have the aircraft searched and investigated. He gave no indication that he intended to comply with the request.
US Veterans and peace activists Ken Mayers and Tarak Kauff who entered Shannon Airport on March 17th with the intention of investigating an Omni Air International plane on contract to the U.S. military are still being denied permission by the Irish state to travel home to the US to their families.
For information on their ongoing case see http://www.stopthesewars.org/kenandtarak/.
The covert use of Shannon Airport by the US military is once again excalating, based on official statistics from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport. This is borne out by our own monitoring of the airport.
Yesterday evening (Saturday May 11th) at 8pm there were no civilian aircraft delivering or taking on civilian passengers at the airport. There were however 3 US warplanes. One was a US Marine Corps Hercules KC130J with mid air refuelling capacity number OH 16-9229, and this was accompanied by a smaller US Marine Corps executive jet, number VM 16-6767 Cesna UC-35D Citation Encore. These two aircraft were being protected by an Irish army patrol, and their crews and military passengers were most likely staying overnight in a local hotel. There was also an Omni Air International troop carrier, registration N225AX which is capable of carrying up to 300 armed US troops.
At Shannon Airport on May 7th we photographed these two US military aircraft.
One was a Hercules C130H number 92-3085, which arrived on 6th May, stayed overnight, and took off at 09.22am heading East towards Europe or Middle East.
The other was a US Air force C-146A Wolfhound.
Earlier this week, the two Veterans for Peace activists Tarak Kauff and Ken Mayers unfurled their banner on the carriageway approaching Shannon Airport.
On March 27th a peace vigil was held at Limerick prison for Us Veterans for Peace Tarak Kauff and Ken Mayers. They are displaying the larger version of the banner that Ken and Tarak took into Shannon Airport on March 17th when they attempted to inspect and investigate a US military contracted plane.
Press Conference - Buswell's Hotel Dublin, 11am Friday, March 15th, 11am
Public Meeting - Connolly Books, 43 Essex St E, Temple Bar, Friday March 15th, 7pm
Protest - Shannon Airport St Patrick's Day Sunday March 17th, 2pm
Why? Because up to one million [1,000,000] children have died due to US-led wars in the Middle East since 1991
Six US Veterans For Peace (VFP), including two Iraq combat veterans will be in Ireland from March 14th to the 20th. They will be speaking publicly about the proliferation of US wars and of the disrespect shown by the US military for Ireland's traditional neutrality.
The last few months has seen ongoing refusals by government Ministers to answer about the US military use of Shannon. Three ministers, Simon Coveney (Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade), Shane Ross (Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport) and Charlie Flanagan (Minister for Justice and Equality) have all shown clearly that they intend to avoid providing proper information to their fellow TDs and those of us in civil society who demand answers. Here's a sample of what we've got from them since October.