Despite Covid-19 restrictions, US troops have continued to pass through Shannon since March. Up to the end of October a total of 65.965 troops passed through the airport; that's an average of 200 foreign soldiers a day using a civilian airport in "neutral" Ireland.
Earlier this month the Minister for Foreign Affairs provided Catherine Connolly TD with a breakdown of military flights that landed at Shannon or were granted permission to fly through Irish airspace for the years 2015 to 2019. Deputy Connolly requested the data for every year since 2002 but was told that because Department of Foreign Affairs staff are working from home and do not have access to physical files required to compile data for the years prior to 2015.
The following tables summariises the military landings at Shannon.
Military overflight numbers were even higher each year.
Earlier today we spent some time tracking a US troop carrying aircraft Omni Air N225AX. It originated at Dobbins Reserve Air Base near Atlanta in Georgia and landed at Shannon Airport just before midnight on Friday night. It refueled and took off again about 1.58am Saturday morning, heading for another refeuling stop at Sofia Bulgaria, before flying on over east Africa.
It was then recorded over Asosa in Ethiopia when in seemed to switch of its transponder which was wise because it was now flying over or near a viscous civil war in Tigre province Ethiopia.
"It’s not possible to promote peace if we are facilitating war."
This was the very clear message from Catherine Connolly TD in the Dail on Thursday when she questioned Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney on the US military use of Shannon Airport. She laid out the figures clearly to him: 3 million US troops and their weapons have passed through Shannon on their way to and from warzones in the last 20 years; 79.5 million displaced people in the world today, 39 million of whom are as a result of America’s involvement in war over those 20 years.
At Dublin Circuit Court today a jury of twelve Irish citizens acquitted peace activists Colm Roddy and Dave Donnellan of the charge of alleged criminal damage at Shannon airport over four and a half years ago. The trial by Jury was presided over by Judge Karen O’Connor found both defendants not guilty. They entered Shannon airport on the morning of 25th May 2016 to search and investigate US military aircraft that were being refuelled on their way to and from US wars of aggression. There were two US Air Force aircraft at Shannon at the time of the incident.
The trial of peace activists Colm Roddy and Dave Donnellan began in Dublin at the Circuit Court in Parkgate street Dublin on Monday 12 October 2020, over four and half years since they carried out a peace action at Shannon airport. Here is a report from the first two days of the trial.
We're calling on everyone who opposes the US military use of Shannon to tweet about it. Join us from 8pm to 9pm this Sunday (Oct 11th) to send messages to the government and to the Department of Foreign Affairs. You can be sure both will notice - and probably even count - the tweets!
Here are some suggested tweets. Use these or your own to demand #USMilitaryOutOfShannon.
The planes both took off this Monday morning (October 5th) at 9.30am.
The planes carried a "Reach" or RCH call sign which means they were Air Force Air Mobility Command planes. Typically only military transport aircraft, including troop transport, use this call sign.
On 23rd August we spotted that Mike Pompeo, who was described by the Washington Post a few days ago as the worst US secretary of state in history, stopped at Shannon on his way to Israel. He was going there to discuss the "normalisation deal" agreed with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) earler in the month. As our friends in the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign said, this deal was an abandonment of Palestinian rights, intended merely to give diplomatic cover to Israel’s ongoing violations of those rights.
Pompeo was on US Air Force Boeing C-40B 01-0015.
On Sunday 30th August another Boeing C-40B, this time with registration 02-0042, landed at Shannon from Joint Base Andrews in Washington. It went on to Israel, and on Monday it left Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, flew to Al Bateen Executive Airport in the UAE, and flew back to Shannon (arriving Tuesday 1st September). It left Shannon at 6.12pm on its was back to Joint Base Andrews.