Another Day in Court for Four Peace Activists

Four peace activists appeared in court today at Ennis Circuit court. Two travelled from Dublin, one from Waterford and one all the way from Limerick. Their legal team from the Pat Finucane Centre travelled from Belfast and Cork to represent two of the peace activists.

The decision not to use local legal representatives is based on experience of past peace activist trials. While in theory there should be clear separation and independence between the judiciary, the prosecution, and legal representatives for defendants, in practice these three are sometimes too closely associated.

Today was the twelfth time Colm Roddy and Dave Donnellan had to appear in court on the same alleged offence and the actual trial may still be almost a year away. For Dan Dowling and Edward Horgan it was the sixth day in court, Theynow have two more dates on 13 and 18 December with no trial date any time soon.

Dan Dowling in Conversation with Fellow Peace Activist Colm Roddy

On 31st October activists Dan Dowling and Colm Roddy both appeared, yet again, at Ennis Court in relation to their peace actions. The cases were 'for mention' only, so nothing of note took place. Afterwards Dan sat with long-time activist Colm and discussed his activism, war and more. Here's a transcript of the conversation.

Colm Roddy outside Ennis Court. [Photo: Ciaron O'Reilly]

D: I saw a clip last night Colm, Ronald Regan's visit to Ireland, he arrived in a school and the children were dressed up in báníns for him. Ireland gave away her gas and fish for nothing, her children to emigration, our neutrality, recently our data. Is there any other country though that kowtows this much- to the yanks in particular? 

C: Ireland's like the 51st state, after 9-11 we were the only country that held a national day of mourning. I was in town and every shop and institute was closed down. It was a more excessive reaction than the USA I think. And the rendition flights, our government accepted the word of the lying USA with no effort made to ensure there were no prisoners on board.

D:The age of the protesters and their profile, it is predominantly older people, the world over. What's wrong with my generation? I asked this a few times, the answers that came back were today's peace movement is remnants of the anti-draft movement, or anti-apartheid, in Ireland there were issues with the peace movement in Belfast, but what's happening with my generation?

C: Education now is a kind of mental slavery. There's a stoic acceptance of state authority, people don't realise individuals have human rights. Last week I met with TV3 and a company called side line productions. Fundamentally I believe everyone has equal rights and that's where I'm coming from.

The Dangers of Using a Civilian Airport like Shannon to Transport US Military Cargo

Recent discussions about the safety or otherwise of having the US military flying in and out of Shannon Airport gave us reason to recall an incident in March 2008 in which a Murray Air aircraft was involved in an emergency landing at Shannon. This was after it was seen flying over Askeaton, which is across the River Shannon estuary from the airport, with flames coming from one of its engines. Residents of the County Limerick town described their windows rattling and houses shaking as the cargo plane flew low over a housing estate in the town.

At the time there was a discussion about the incident on the RTE Radio's Joe Duffy Show. During the discussion Tracey Bell, Director of Administration for Murray Air, admitted that explosives had been brought through Shannon by the airline on previous occasions.

Peaceful Protest and the State's Heavy-Handed Response at Shannon

The October peace vigil at Shannon on Sunday 9th was a peaceful, dignified affair as always. Almost 20 people gathered to express their opposition to the ongoing US military use of the airport. Some were local, while others travelled from Cork, Galway and elsewhere to join the protest.

A group of the peace vigil attendees at Shannon

At the same time an Omni Air International troop carrier sat parked at Gate 42. It was being refuelled by Top Oil, a company whose website claims that communities are important to them and that they are driven to "achieving more for all our customers". Clearly Top Oil cares more about the US military war machine as a customer than it does about the communities whose lives it is destroying.

Ibrahim Halawa Gets a Mention in Ennis Court

A brief report on todays events at Ennis District Court involving the Shannon 4, Dave, Colm, Dan and Edward from our court correspondent. For background see Shannon Four to Appear in Ennis Court on Monday Sept 25th.

Dave and Dan were represented by Shane O'Callaghan Solicitor and sought and got approval for Free Legal Aid for both. Colm and Edward were representing themselves assisted by Mckensie Friend Sean. Dave and Colm's case came up first and their solicitor Shane applied on their behalf to have their trial transferred to the Dublin, so as to ensure the likelihood of a fair jury trial, which could not be guaranteed in Co Clare due to bias over Shannon Airport issues. The Judge ruled that this issue could be brought forward at the next hearing which will be on 31 October 2017.

Shannon Four to Appear in Ennis Court on Monday Sept 25th

On Mionday Sept 25th four peace activists will be before Ennis Circuit Court on charges related to peaceful protests at Shannon Airport. These Shannon Four include Colm Roddy, Dave Donnellan, Dan Dowling and Edward Horgan. Dave and Colm are both up on charges for allegedly causing alleged criminal damage at Shannon Airport on 25th May 2016, which is 16 months ago. They went into the airport to search a US military aircraft because they believed it was involved in unlawful wars and killings in the Middle East, and they also knew that The Gardaí at Shannon would not search or investigate it or any other US military or CIA aircraft at Shannon. Dan and Edward are both up on charges of allegedly writing graffiti on the right hand engine of a US warplane at Shannon Airport on 25 April 2017.