Election Candidates Asked to Pledge Themselves to Peace

Five organisations have come together to call on general election candidates to commit to ending the US military use of Shannon Airport. In a joint initiative, Shannonwatch, the Peace and Neutrality Alliance (PANA), the Irish Anti-War Movement (IAWM), Galway Alliance Against War (GAAW) and Veterans for Peace (VfP) Ireland are all calling for candidates and parties to bar military traffic from any country involved in war from landing on Irish soil or from using Irish airspace.

Launching the Peace Pledge initiative, John Lannon of Shannonwatch said: "Since October 2001, Ireland has provided direct support for unilateral military interventions by the US and its NATO allies, most notably in Iraq and Afghanistan. This support has included the transit of at least 2.5 million armed troops plus additional military aircraft through Shannon Airport. Given the devastation caused by these and other US/NATO military interventions, it is time to stop supporting them."

Petitions Committee Report Fails to Reflect Seriousness of Shannonwatch Submission

Over 3 years ago Shannonwatch submitted a Petition to the The Oireachtas Joint Committee on Public Service Oversight and Petitions on the issue of US Military and CIA use of Shannon airport. The wheels of government work slowly, and the Committee issued its final report today. The full report can be viewed here.

The Committee, and in particular to Chairperson, Pádraig MacLochlainn TD, did quite a comprehensive investigation into the petition, including meeting with a delegation from Shannonwatch that included Edward Horhgan, John Lannon and Margaretta D'Arcy at Leinster House, and a further series of meetings at Shannon Airport with representatives of An Garda Siochana, Shannon airport authority and Edward Horgan on behalf of Shannonwatch.

Rule of International Law Should Protect the Powerless, not the Powerful

In a letter to the Irish Examiner, Shannonwatch's Edward Horgan points out that that double speak around Putin shouldn't surprise anyone.

He goes on to note however that the issues involved are deadly serious, not only in individual cases such as the murder of Litvinenko, but also in assassinations and war crimes committed by the governments of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council - Britain, China, France, Russia, and USA.

"Since the foundation of the UN, a litany of crimes has been committed with impunity by these five states, in clear breach of the UN Charter and international laws.

These include: British crimes in Kenya, Malaya; Chinese crimes in Tibet and internally; French crimes in South East Asia, Algeria; USSR/Russian crimes in Eastern Europe, Afghanistan; and US crimes in Latin America, South East Asia, and the Middle East.

Another Day in Court: Case Against Edward Horgan

On January 13th Shannonwatch member Edward Horgan was in court in Ennis as a result of his attempt to search some warplanes. Here's an account of the day:

It was another long day in court, Edward Horgan's third long day so far and his case has not even had a date set for trial yet. This represents just one of the abuses of our justice system. He was summoned to appear in court first on 18th November 2015 on a charge that on 18th April 2015, he did "enter a part of Shannon airport to which persons were not for that time permitted".

Opposing Warplanes at Shannon Today

Today at Shannon the weather was cold but bright and sunny for a change. We had about 25 peace activists at our monthly peace vigil, some travelling from as far away as Letterkenny in north Donegal, others from Dublin, Cork, Galway, Clonmel and more locally. Prior to our peace vigil we had a good meeting to discuss how we can make 2016 a year of critical importance for the peace movement in Ireland.

At the airport itself there was an Omni Air International airplane that may have been transporting up to 300 armed US troops to or from military operations in the Middle East. There was also a small US Marine Corps Cessna UC-35D Citation Encore jet, registration 166715, being protected by an Irish army security detail (see photograph).

Review of 2015 US Military Traffic Through Shannon

The government continues to claim Ireland is a neutral country, and that when it comes to the US military use of Shannon Airport there's nothing to see or worry about. None of the regular landings of Hercules C-130's or mid-air refuellers are involved in military operations they say, and there's not as much as a single gun or round of ammunition on any of them.

It defies logic, but it's what the government tries to make us believe, despite recorded evidence of weapons on some of the planes.

In addition to these supposedly "unarmed" military planes there are also constant landings of "civilian" planes each carrying hundreds of armed troops. Classifying these as non-military, as the government does, is unprincipled and misleading, and is in breach of international neutrality law.  

Shannonwatch keep records of all US military traffic that passes through Shannon Airport. In 2015 we recorded 367 troop carriers landing and departing from the airport, as well as 291 military (US Air Force or Navy) planes. That's a total of 658 planes linked to US military operations - in other words more than 12 US military flights a week through Shannon.