At our Shannonwatch peace vigil today we displayed a beautiful banner produced by IPSC with artwork in memory of some of the Palestinian children who have been killed in Gaza. It was an appropriate banner, given all the children killed by wars facilitated by Shannon Airport.
The following letter from Shannonwatch's Edward Horgan was published in today's Irish Independent.
The appalling situation in Yemen is getting worse. According to the United Nations 10,000 people - two-thirds of them civilians, including thousands of children, have been killed and 55,000 injured.
On 9th August a bus carrying children to a summer school was hit by a Saudi air strike in the town of Dahyan in northern Yemen. At least 47 civilians including 29 children, all under 15 years of age, were killed. Col Turki al-Malki spokesman for the US backed Saudi dominated coalition said the attack was "a legitimate military action, conducted in conformity with international humanitarian law".
At Shannon Airport at 3.30 pm this evening a US warplane was being refuelled and seemed to be getting some repairs done. All part of Ireland's participation in totally unjustified wars in the Middle East.
It comes as little surprise that the latest financial report for Shannon Airport makes no mention of the US military use of the facility. The report tells us that the overall number of passengers in 2017 was 1,751 million, which means that the official number of US troop that passed through the airport, 60,968, represents 3.5% of its overall passenger business. But the company running one of the country's main airports couldn't possibly mention this massive ongoing breach of Irish neutrality.
Shannon Airport is one of the business units of the Shannon Group. This is a commercial semi-state company established in September 2014. The other business units are Shannon Heritage, the International Aviation Services Centre (IASC) and Shannon Commercial Enterprises DAC, trading as Shannon Commercial Properties. Together they are "focused on delivering economic benefits for the West of Ireland and the wider national economy" (from the Shannon Group website).
Here is the court report from June 29th at Ennis Circuit Court, where Judge Gerald Keys ruled that the cases of Colm Roddy, Dave Donnellan, Dan Dowling and Edward Horgan should be transferred from Ennis Circuit Court to Dublin Circuit court. This means a trial by jury in Dublin. We have no doubt but that all these cases will eventually be dismissed, as they should be, either on grounds of justification of for technical legal reasons.
This US air force Hercules C130 warplane was at Shannon Airport tonight, July 2nd, being protected by a combination of a Garda security team, Shannon Airport security, and an Irish Defence Forces security team.
On June 28th we were sent a photograph of three US soldiers, in uniform, outside the Topaz/Re-Store store in Shannon. We published the photograph on our Facebook page, and it prompted quite a reaction from the public.
The Defence Act 1954 prohibits the wearing of a foreign military uniform in the State without ministerial permission. Permission was granted in 2003 by then Minister for Foreign Affairs Brian Cowen to allow US military personnel to wear their uniforms in the transit areas of Irish airports, including Shannon Airport, but not outside the airport. We therefore wanted to know if these soldiers had been granted permission by the Minister for Defence, or if they were in fact in breach of the Defence Act.
On July 5th Clare Daly TD asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if the soldiers had been authorised to wear military combat uniforms where they had been photographed. She also asked him to outline his plans to address the issue of foreign military personnel wearing uniforms on streets, if they had not been granted permission.
On July 23rd we recorded and photographed no fewer than three US warplanes at Shannon Airport. The most suspicious one was a C146A Wolfhound special operations aircraft. These are the type of missions it is used for by the US Air Force Special Operations Command, according to the American Special Ops website:
"Within United States Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC), the aircraft is used in the non-standard aviation role i.e. covert insertion, extraction and resupply of special operations forces. AFSOC operate a fleet of light and medium intra-theater aircraft that include the U-28A, C-145A Skytruck and C-146A Wolfhound. In the military role, the C-146A has been configured with special NVG-compatible lighting in the flight deck and cabin. While not publicly disclosed, the C-146A is likely to include a secure communications fitment as well as the capability to fit a defensive aids system (DAS).
July 12th was another busy day at Shannon Warport. Of particular importance was the arrival back of a National Air Cargo plane on contract to the US military using call-sign CMB545. It arrived at 9.38 am this morning 12 July. We tracked its recent war supporting flights as follows: (all times are local)
On June 3rd it was reported that a military aerial refuelling aircraft had made an emergency landing at Shannon Airport. It was a US Air Force McDonnell Douglas KC-10, and initial reports said it suffered a problem with one of its engines over the Atlantic.
Five fire brigade units were sent from Shannon Town and two more from Ennis in support of the airport's Fire and Rescue Service. The National Ambulance Service and Gardaí also sent resources to the airport.
According to local reports, an inspection of the aircraft afterwards discovered that a panel was missing from the jet's left engine.